Apr 28, 2010

Emergency: Join me on campus tonight

An Emegency Note from Rabbi Creditor:
Join me on campus tonight

Dear Chevreh,


Please join me tonight at 10:30 at Pauley Ballroom on campus. I apologize for the late notice, but the agenda for tonight's ASUC Student Senate meeting just changed.  They were to spend the bulk of the meeting allocating 1.6 million dollars to the student groups on campus, but just changed the agenda to focus on the bill to encourage the University to divest from Israel.  (The DailyCal editorial last week condemned the student senate for devoting this much time to an issue that is not central to student needs.)  ASUC President Will Smelko vetoed the bill two weeks ago, and last week I, along with two survivors, Consul General Akiva Tor, and an Israeli teenager spent hours at Hillel with the one student senator who had abstained from overturning the veto the week prior.  This led to the upholding of the veto.  Tonight, again, the proponents of divestment have plastered the campus in an effort to overwhelm the senators and try to get the veto overturned.

Our family needs us.  I know we have varying opinions about Israel, and I imagine a few Netivot Shalom members enjoy the other dimensions of our communal life more than focusing on this topic.  But my heart is breaking, and I'm asking you to join me on campus tonight at 10:30pm when the student senate takes up this issue again. I ask you to join me there because the Jewish students on campus are feeling threatened.  I'm asking you because wishing for and working towards a better Israel is different than denying its right to defend itself.  I'm asking you to support the work of Hillel on campus.

And I'm also asking you to see the interweaving of anti-semetic sentiment that follows this campaign, even if that wasn't the bill's original intent (though I believe it was).  Last week saw rocks thrown through Oakland's Grand Bakery and Holyland Restaurant, as well as anti-Zionist vandalism on the East Bay Federation building.  This is not about Gaza and Sderot.  This is about our Jewish community, as it is always linked to Israel, as it should be.

I just signed up to speak at this meeting.  I will not attack anyone - that's not what Zionism stands for.  I will ask for diversity to be the primary value of the student body at Cal Berkeley.  We have prayed for the safety of the Palestinian People from our sanctuary on Shabbat morning.  I pray we are being prayed for in return.  And, in light of this attack on Israel, we need to stand together.

I look forward to seeing you tonight on campus.  The public forum on this bill is scheduled to begin at 11 PM in Pauley Ballroom.

Our family needs us.  

With Tikvah for Peace and Safety for Israel, and for everyone else,

Rabbi Creditor