This letter to the editor was first published in The Jewish Advocate on April 6, 2012
The Boston and Northeastern Jewish Communities owe a thank you to Charles Jacobs for his exposure of the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish use of Holocaust Remembrance Week at Northeastern.
I was NU Hillel director from 1983 to 1989 and was the chairperson of the Holocaust Remembrance Week Committee from 1984 to 1989, when the focus was solely on the Holocaust itself.
In 1987, a fellow member of the NU clergy tried to sneak in a Jewish academic who had once compared Israel’s army behavior toward the Palestinians with that of the Nazis toward the Jews. Instead of having him as the main speaker before hundreds, I managed to shunt him off to speak at a lunch session with 10 students.
Jacobs mentions the names of several Jews whom he rightfully condemns as supporters of Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) against Israel. Northeastern University is a superb institution of higher education. It seems to have been hijacked by these “haters” who focus solely and without merit on what they falsely say is Israel’s behavior vis à vis the Palestinians. Israel’s positive integration of all groups, including Arabs, is glossed over entirely.
NU needs to apologize to Steve Stotsky, who works today for CAMERA, a group that defends Israel. Steve’s father, Dr. Bernard Stotsky, endowed an academic chair in Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies at NU. Some of those who have occupied it have disseminated negative, nasty propaganda against Israel.
I am proud to reveal that it was I who had gently persuaded Dr. Stotsky to change his touching, modest offer of $5,000 to sponsor a student essay contest about the Holocaust in memory of his parents into a full-blown professorial chair. Although he didn’t have the money at the time, Dr. Stotsky pledged to create that chair with more than 40 times his original gift.
I hereby volunteer to lead my beloved Northeastern in returning Holocaust Remembrance Week and Dr. Stotsky’s endowed chair to their original purpose: to teach our students the meaning of love, honor and the power of truthful memory as the best tools with which to stir good people “to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our G-d” (Prophet Micah).
RABBI PAUL H. LEVENSON