Press Release: APN to Hillel President: Reconsider Boycotting J Street Conference

Americans for Peace Now today called on Eric Fingerhut, the President of Hillel International, to reconsider his decision to boycott J Street’s annual conference. Fingerhut says he decided to cancel his planned appearance at the conference because one of the people invited to speak there is Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat.

APN’s President and CEO, Debra DeLee said: “Fingerhut’s decision is misguided, odd and damaging. Erekat has spent hundreds if not thousands of hours negotiating with Israeli and American officials, but somehow he is not 'kosher' enough to be on the same conference program as the President of Hillel.

"It is odd, because Erekat is a Palestinian moderate. While he has made statements with which APN and others in the pro-Israel, pro-peace community profoundly disagree, he has long been a staunch and vocal supporter of a negotiated two-state peace agreement with Israel, and rejected violence and terror. Indeed, Erekat embodies the Palestinian ‘diplomatic option.’ For that, he is routinely and viciously attacked by Palestinian rejectionists and extremists.

“Fingerhut’s decision is damaging because it sends a terrible message to young American Jews. The message is that engagement with any Palestinian leader, even a pro-two-state moderate like Erekat, is wrong.

“Fingerhut’s decision is a terrible mistake. We urge him to reconsider it.”