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November 28, 2014

JCRC Condemns Apparent Blacklisting of Israeli-American Student at the University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement in response to the apparent blacklisting of Ilan Sinelnikov, an Israeli-American undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota:

“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) condemns the apparent blacklisting of Ilan Sinelnikov, an Israeli-American undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, from the school’s Student Services Fee Committee.

“Apparently, despite the support of the hiring committee and his fellow undergraduate student leaders, Mr. Sinelnikov’s application was rejected because of his membership in Students Supporting Israel, a pro-Israel student group which Mr. Sinelnikov co-founded at the University of Minnesota and is now at approximately 25 other American campuses.

“In an e-mail shared with the JCRC, the graduate student representative to the Student Services Fee Committee who led the successful effort to blacklist Mr. Sinelnikov claimed that ‘[Ilan Sinelnikov] is a member of a hate group (SSI) and I think he comes in with a fishy agenda.’

“The notion that Students Supporting Israel is a hate group is an absurdity. The JCRC is proud to partner with Mr. Sinelnikov and his SSI colleagues to organize a conference on Israel advocacy on February 8, 2015, at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul, Minnesota. The conference, titled “Moving from Confrontation to Conversation: Israel on Campus and in the Community,” will examine the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement which has apparently targeted Mr. Sinelnikov for his role as an effective pro-Israel campus leader.

“Finally, the JCRC notes with appreciation the exceptional leadership of the University of Minnesota’s President Eric Kaler. Just last December, President Kaler publicly rejected the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academics. We have every confidence that the University of Minnesota will conduct a fair and thorough investigation of the apparent blacklisting of Mr. Sinelnikov from membership in the University’s Student Services Fee Committee.”

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.