Dorfman resigns from MSZ presidency, offers apology

To the Daily:

The Jewish people are not fighting a new battle. Anti-Semitism is as old as Judaism, and unfortunately, it does not appear that we are headed for peace anytime soon in Israel. Our rabbis teach us that peace and redemption will only come after the Jewish community unites and returns to the Torah and its commandments. According to Rabbi Hillel, the namesake of our campus’ Jewish center, the most important law in all of Judaism is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. This concept of Jewish togetherness and community love is called achdus in Hebrew.

For nearly six months now, the Michigan Student Zionists have struggled to find common tactical ground with that of other Zionist groups on campus. Ties have reached an all-time low with the viewpoint, Campus politics needs to avoid extremism, (03/31/03), condemning MSZ’s stance on the campus truth advertisements.

After dealing with the initial heartbreak of being publicly condemned by members of my own community, I have decided to reevaluate the rationale of becoming active in the pro-Israel community. To me the purpose of Israel advocacy is to encourage Jewish students to return to their community; to establish a strong sense of identity among the University’s 6,700 Jews. The truth is that MSZ’s largest support bases exist outside of campus, in the Metro Detroit Jewish and national evangelical Christian communities.

I have strongly held the position that if the world could be exposed to the brutality of the Palestinian Authority sympathies would naturally migrate toward Israel. I felt that students, even those who don’t feel a close connection to Israel, could rally together against the common evils of oppression, anti-Semitism and terrorism. Israel was supposed to be a uniting factor on campus for Jewish students, and now it is tearing us apart.

It is clear that the dissent for aggressive tactics in Israel advocacy is overwhelming. Michigan Student Zionists has become a dividing entity in the Jewish community, and while there may be a base of students on campus who agree with its ideologies, the effects of MSZ are contrary to its initial goals. It is with the concept of achdus in mind, that I resign my position as president of Michigan Student Zionists, and recommend its abandonment by the remaining members.

I will continue to work with the North American Jewish Student Alliance on campus, and it is my strong desire that I be welcomed into the mainstream pro-Israel community, so that I may best fulfill the ultimate goals of Israel advocacy. I would also like to offer a public apology, and ask for forgiveness of people in my community that I offended with my actions in the past, specifically Howard Loebman, Avi Jacobson, Sam Woll, Rachel Roth, Yulia Dernovsky, Nathan Gonik, Ben Berger, Shosh Ruskin, Ari Paul and Michael Brooks.

Together you and I can change the world.

Rick Dorfman

LSA junior

Former president, Michigan Student Zionists

Co- founder, North American Jewish Student Alliance

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