Houston Hillel is steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State with secure and recognized borders and as a member of the family of free nations. Houston Hillel provides a safe space for students to express a wide spectrum of views regarding their relationships with Israel. Scroll down for Houston Hillel’s Israel Guidelines that informs Houston Hillel’s approach to Israel advocacy, programming and sponsorships.
Travel to Israel
Houston Hillel often takes students on a FREE Birthright Israel trip, and many years we take a second trip just for graduate students and young professionals. For the whole scoop, contact Houston Hillel's Israel Fellow, Lior Ashkenazy-Dor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston Hillel’s Israel Guidelines
Adopted by Houston Hillel’s Board of Directors on May 2, 2011
Colleges and Universities are communities where the freedom of speech and expression are paramount. Divergent views are heard from all corners of the political spectrum and this exchange of ideas is critical to the development of a student’s ability to establish a sense of his or her own identity and priorities.
Houston Hillel is committed to this free expression of ideas – particularly in regard to Israel and the Jewish community. Just as there are limits to free speech however, it is not unreasonable for an organization supported by the Jewish community to outline certain guidelines for the use of Houston Hillel facilities and staff. In keeping with this, members of Houston Hillel’s Board of Directors in conjunction with Student and Faculty representatives have developed the following statement concerning Israel-related programming. These ideals, though not binding, are meant to represent a path for members of the Houston Hillel professional staff and students to follow when determining whether or not to provide either sponsorship or promotion to activities related to Israel and the Middle East.
Houston Hillel and any organization or activity sponsored by it affirms the right of the Jewish people to live in the State of Israel as a free and independent Jewish democratic state within secure and recognized boundaries.
Houston Hillel should serve as a focus for members of its community to come together to discuss issues concerning Israel and the Jewish world in a manner that is in keeping with the highest traditions of academic integrity, including civility, respect for one another and the healthy exchange of differing opinions.
When appropriate, Houston Hillel will actively encourage its community to visit Israel through programs such as Taglit-Birthright or other trips. The purpose of these trips is to help students and faculty realize the centrality of Israel as a core part of the Jewish experience.
There exists within the Jewish and wider community an array of opinions regarding Israel and its character and political boundaries. However, no organization supported or sponsored by Houston Hillel shall have as their goal either the destruction or delegitimization of the state, or a denigration of its unique nature as a Jewish state including, but not limited to, efforts such as Boycott, Divestment or Sanctions (BDS).
Houston Hillel will not support or sponsor any student or organization from any end of the political spectrum which advocates violence as a solution to the current Middle Eastern conflict, whether against Israel or its opponents.
These ideals are not meant to prevent Houston Hillel’s students or staff from participating in forums not sponsored by Houston Hillel, or any situation in which these ideals may be challenged by other participants. The role of Houston Hillel’s students, lay leaders and professional staff in those situations is to represent Israel in a fair and positive manner rather than let unreasonable criticism or comments go unanswered.