The Open Hillel network admitted that it made a “mistake” by relaying information garnered from an off-the-record conference call featuring the director of Hillel International — a move that led to the firing of an American Jewish Committee staffer.
“Recently, information was shared on an Open Hillel e-mail chain concerning a conference call briefing between Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut and the American Jewish Committee,” Open Hillel said in a statement emailed Wednesday to JTA. “This resulted in the firing of a recent college graduate and Open Hillel member who had worked with the AJC.”
Open Hillel is a network of Jewish student campus groups that reject Hillel International’s precepts banning events with speakers who advocate boycotting Israel and working with groups that are seen as hypercritical of Israel.
The Open Hillel statement noted that the call, for American Jewish Committee and Hillel staff, was not recorded, but that information about the call was shared among some Open Hillel activists.
“We recognize that this decision, made by a handful of people involved with the Open Hillel campaign, was a mistake,” the group said.
A report this week by the Washington D.C.-based Free Beacon news website revealed that AJC fired Danny Blinderman, a staffer in its Boston office, after he offered to share with Open Hillel activists information from an off-the-record conference call with Fingerhut.
“Open Hillel looks forward to re-focusing our energies on what really matters: Jewish students and Jewish campus communities,” the group’s statement said. “Open Hillel is steadfast in our commitment to making Hillel a welcoming space that is open to all Jewish students regardless of their political beliefs.”