It took me a solid six years of post-graduate work to earn my Ph.D. in Research & Evaluation in Education and Psychology from the University of Buffalo. This was after the Master’s degree in Learning & Behavioral Disabilities from Buffalo State College, which was after my Bachelor’s of Divinity from the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ. And yes, this came after my undergraduate degree in American Studies, which was also at the University of Buffalo. It was a long haul that had me on some sort of university campus for a good 15 years. Since the post doctorate I’ve been teaching graduate level course in education for more years than I can count. Besides feeling like a lifelong student, all this has given a solid first-hand, experiential look into present day campus life on our universities.
One thing I can say for certain is that the level of anti-Israel protest has increased to frightening levels. I don’t refer to decibel levels but rather to the anti-democratic manner in which this is occurring. What’s scary is not that these protesters criticize Israel so vociferously and mendaciously, that is their right, but that they attempt to silence any sentiments of the “other side” – those who choose to voice their support of the Jewish state.
Many pro-Israel students and faculty as well have voiced great concern over their safety and free rights on America’s campuses. Pro-Israel speakers, many hired by the universities to offer discussion on the subject, are often drowned out with shouting, yelling and even physical threats of the BDS supporters.
Offering differing opinions on various social and scientific subjects has long been a blooming oasis on colleges throughout the democratic world. Countries run by dictators don’t allow for such free thought. To remain a “free country,” there has to be room for honest and open dialogue. This is the only way that fosters growth and advancement.
The BDS movement has only gotten louder and there’s no interest whatsoever in discussion. It’s case-closed for BDS’ers. Conclusions have been reached and there’s no desire to take any closer examination of the Israel/Palestinian situation.
BDS has unfortunately been given free reign with its in-your-face and militant tactics. What’s therefore most frightening is not their Nazi-like behaviors, but rather their influence. That has led to the “dumbing down” of American college students. BDS has told and sold our well-meaning and optimistic college kids that the Palestinian Arabs have been the victims of Israeli aggression. Furthermore, they state unchallenged that Israel practices genocide, ethnic cleansing, and is an apartheid state.
To any open-minded person, especially one who has visited Israel, these ridiculous claims are very quickly dispelled – which is probably why the BDS movement is so very keen on making sure that top entertainers don’t go to Israel to perform. If they do, then something really bad happens: these performers realize that the BDS movement is completely baseless. These performers, including the world’s #1 rock band, the Rolling Stones, have all expressed their enthusiastic support for the region’s only free and democratic society.
It’s not the Palestinian territories. It’s not Gaza. It’s not the West Bank. It ain’t Iran or Saudi Arabia or Syria. Nope. It’s Israel! This tiny piece of real estate in the Middle East and the only one that is the exact opposite of an apartheid state!
And so the more folks that visit Israel the worse it is for the BDS cause. So their plan of action is not to make the militant Muslim countries accountable for positive social change. Rather, they attempt to silence and mistreat anyone who plans an eye-opening trip to Israel. It’s the only way such a blatant lie can exist.
The BDS lies can only thrive on ignorance and complete suppression of the truth. And so rather than espouse their arguments in fair public forums of mutual exchange, they take the course of drowning out the pro-Israel side.
The sad thing is that many college students buy into the BDS propaganda without questioning its validity. If they did, they’d be in for a mighty big surprise. The very things the BDS’ers accuse Israel of are, in fact, happening in many countries throughout the Muslim world: Civil rights basically non-existent. Women mistreated and put in the roles of second-class citizens. Young girls forced to endure female genital mutilation. Gays stoned to death or hanged in public. Reporters offering any opinions critical are arrested – some never heard from again.
An honest visit to Israel reveals some interesting social phenomenon. Women are equal partners to men. They serve in the armed forces and occupy every position of social and political power – from doctors and lawyers to judges and prime ministers. Arabs and Muslims can live and play anywhere they want in Israel. They too become judges and lawyers and doctors and police officers and whatever careers they choose. Parents of both Jews and Arabs can choose what schools to send their kiddies to. Music bands often consist of both ethnic groups. But all this takes place only in Israel.
Oh, on the genocide thing. Are the BDS’ers really pushing that wacko notion about Israel? C’mon folks, let’s be honest here. If Israel wished to wipe out the Palestinians, they’d be long gone! Period. Any individual with half a cerebral cortex knows this fact. It has been the exact opposite here. The areas controlled by Hamas and Hezbollah have openly sought to kill as many as Israeli civilians as possible.
On the other hand, millions – or is it billions by now? – of international aid to the Palestinians, has been used to buy weapons and build their tunnels of terror. If they had the means to commit genocide against Israel they’d no doubt do it.
Most of these Muslim run countries have no non-Muslims in any political position of power. In fact, there nowhere to be seen as most are viewed as “infidels” and have either chosen to leave these countries or have been forced to take a permanent vacation. And surprise-surprise, what do we see here? Apartheid does indeed exist! Oh but not in Israel as the BDS movement claims, but rather in a whole bunch of Arab and Muslim lands.
For decades, Jews were forced out of many Muslim countries. The few remaining Christians in these Muslim run lands are the ones facing genocide today. The BDS lies can only thrive on ignorance and complete suppression of the truth. And so rather than espouse their arguments in fair public forums of mutual exchange, they have to take the course of drowning out the pro-Israel side. A lie can only survive as long as the truth remains hidden and silent.
At the very least we must do all we can to encourage our optimistic and energetic youth to engage in open and free dialogue. Voice of dissent must be respected, listened to, and not forced into silence and fear. These despicable strategies were the beginning of the Nazi takeover in Germany not too many generations ago. They cannot be allowed to manifest themselves on our American campuses today.
In an effort to keep things fair & square and at least a bit on the honest side, it’s high time to call a spade a spade. Time to remove the letter D from their not-so-illustrious name.