Sword of God: Friends, p. 1

Art: Michela Da Sacco. This is a big controversy in academia right now.

Art: Michela Da Sacco. This is a big controversy in academia right now.


About Ron Edwards

Game author, publisher, consultant, teacher

Posted on October 18, 2016, in Adept Comics, Sword of God and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Santiago Verón

    I’m rereading this from the beginning, and I think, why would he be a threat to every Jewish student and staff? Is it just because he’s Arab? Or his political views/classes?


    • The rhetoric Scott is using is frequently heard on U.S. campuses at present. He’s not referring to Raphael as an individual but to the following student activities.

      1. BDS, or Boycott Divestment & Sanctions, a movement or proposal which applies the logic of 1980s activism vs. South Africa to Israel. BDS is considered an existential threat by the Israeli government, as is the increasing criticism of Israel by younger Jewish Americans.

      2. The Open Hillel movement, which supports separating the student clubs using the Hillel name from the international organization of that name. Hillel clubs began in the 1920s to serve as a primary socializing and organizing point for Jewish students like any cultural-type club does. In the late 1980s, the external and very well-funded, politically connected organization Hillel International was formed (named in 1994); it offers sponsorship to student clubs. (This is based on standard practice by, for example, political parties – you can have your Democratic Students club which may or may not be sponsored by the Democratic Party.) Hillel International applies a very strong guiding hand via its representatives on campus and threatens lawsuit vs. campus clubs which use the name without sponsorship. It represents one of the primary efforts, possibly the most effective one, to brand Israeli nationalism with Jewish identity in the U.S.

      3. SJP, or Students for Justice in Palestine, which tends to function strictly as local campus clubs without sponsorship by the larger group of that name. Unlike the Hillel club in this story (which is sponsored by the International), a given SJP defines itself as strictly political and is diverse in individual ethnicity, religion including Judaism, and goals. They ally strongly with queer groups, local activists, socialists, and recently, Open Hillel and Black Lives Matter.

      Scott is simultaneously the representative for Hillel International and the staff spiritual advisor for Judaism on campus (as the story mentions, there are several such positions). He is therefore not-staff and staff. Also, as with many campus Hillels, the club is ambiguously designated religious, poltical, neither, or both by the Student Activities bureaucracy. This irregular and difficult-to-oversee situation is taken from a real-life campus.

      Hillel International and other groups like Campus Watch claim that BDS, Open Hillel, and SJP are sources of physical and psychological danger to Jewish students. This language makes university administrators and boards of trustees very, very unhappy and has resulted in a considerable amount of restrictions on SJP, nationwide – which in turn receives protest and pushback by professors like Raphael, who is one of the campus advisors for SJP.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Whoa. I love this. Thanks a lot.

        Just so you get a… how do you say… rule of measurement, to compare, “Democratic Students club which may or may not be sponsored by the Democratic Party” is enough of a strange concept for me to consider. So everything else is so fascinating.

        Hey, do you guys have… a student body, with elections, there? A group of students that acts as a sort of “syndicate”/representatives for all the students, who rally them for various political causes (external to the university), and that as an organization serves as the first step in a political career for future politicians. (A little league, if you will.)

        We got those.


        • Absolutely! Student government is present on every campus I’ve worked at or heard of. They range from “quaint little club” to genuinely scary powerful forces. Sometimes they’re integrated too well with other organizations, especially fraternities and sororities, and sometimes they’re effectively university administration, with offices and huge budgets. However, I have not observed any specific student government to be associated with either major American political party, aside from regional preferences based on social status. These student governments clearly do “pump” students into professional politics, especially lobbying, but I think most of them provide slightly-refined material to both parties.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Santiago Verón

          The fraternities and sororities! How did I forget! That’s what we DON’T have. This is very off topic, and also, this is months after your original reply, which I’ve just encountered, kind of by chance… but I would like to ask you, before I take my curiosity to a more proper venue like Wikipedia or whatever, if I’m right in my hunch that the fraternities/sororities phenomenon arises from the university/college as a place you live in. (Unlike other universities in the world, like the one in my town, where lots of people come to live in the town to study, but they rent in regular places, usually with other young people on the same situation.)


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