(The venue: Hunter College in New York; the chants: "Zionists out of CUNY!" and "Long live the Intifada!")
Even so, US-based Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was ill-prepared for the craven response of Jewish students across the herring pond a few days ago when he mentioned the "I" word:
'What shook my confidence in British Jewry today was my experience at King’s College [London] where I was invited to address the Jewish Society. I focused my remarks on Israeli democracy and the ways in which it could be a model for the autocratic Arab states of the region. Israel is the great hope for the spread of human rights throughout the Middle East.
As I spoke, I could see my hosts growing restless and the discomfiture on their faces surprised me. I was in for a bigger shock, however, when my hosts stopped me mid-lecture and said that they were opening the floor for questions. I am always happy to respond to questions, friendly or hostile, but I have rarely been interrupted so abruptly by the people who invited me to speak. (The talk was video taped on a phone.)
When I asked for an explanation, I was told by the president of the organization, a young man wearing a yarmulke, that the Jewish Society has a policy against speaking about Israel. The group, he said was non-political and focused on “Jewish subjects.”
Israel not a Jewish subject? I was dumbfounded. It was as if Israel had become the Voldemort of nations, the country that dare not be named.
When I recovered from the shock, I asked if I should speak about lox and bagels, klezmer music or Manischewitz wine. My sarcasm seemed to go right over my hosts’ heads. For them, Israel and Judaism were unrelated. I asked if the murder of Israeli citizens in countless terror attacks over the past month was likewise a “political issue,” or one of human rights. I was told by one of the students that these things needs not be put in boxes. Worse, I sensed that these students, who had enough pride in their heritage, and commitment to their faith, to wear their yarmulkes in public, had become so cowed by the omnipresent hostility and bullying on and off British campuses that they were afraid to engage in a dialogue about Israel.
The talk was video taped on a phone and the discomfort of the students discussing, let alone defending, Israel is deeply jarring....'Read more here
See this by Boteach too