Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Friday, 13 June 2014

BDS: The Wisdom of Western Washington

In one of those funny little coincidences that happen from time to time, I first heard of the small city of Bellingham, in the American state of Washington, on Wednesday when, laid up with flu and idly browsing the internet, I discovered that a long-dead relative who migrated to the United States from Canada had once resided there.

The discovery took me straight to Bellingham's Wikipedia entry, where I learned, among other things, that the city is home to Western Washington University.

Little did I know that, later that very day, Western Washington University would emerge as an icon of the anti-BDS movement.  For the student government at Western Washington University (Associated Students WWU) passed  a resolution, carried  unanimously by seven votes to nil, opposing boycotts, divestment, and sanctions based on national origin, the first American university to take such a proactive measure.

The resolution opposes BDS, since “tensions between students related to foreign conflicts should be managed in a healthy and collaborative manner rather than be exacerbated”, and since BDS campaigns “can cause students to be targeted on the basis of nationality” and lead to “disrespectful bias, hostility, hate, or harassment.”

Student Alysa Kipersztok, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow at the university, initiated the anti-BDS resolution:
“I’ve seen how divisive anti-Israel BDS campaigns have been on campuses across the country.  Western is a warm, respectful, inclusive community. Our mission statement states that WWU ‘brings together individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in an inclusive, student-centered university.
BDS has been a source of disconnect and resentment among students, creating a hostile environment.  It divides students, marginalizing those who support Israel. I want to thank our ASWWU for unconditionally supporting this process and for working closely with me to represent the desires of students to keep our campus safe.” 
 Commented the Northwest Regional Director of Stand With Us, Rob Jacobs: 
“We salute the ASWWU for taking a strong, moral, and proactive stance against the targeting of students based on their identity.
We’ve seen how anti-Israel divestment initiatives spread hatred and misinformation about Israel. BDS undermines education, mutual respect, and understanding on campuses, and does nothing to promote peace, justice, or human rights in the Middle East."
As StandWithUs noted on Facebook:
"The measure protects students from discriminatory BDS campaigns such as the one that is currently targeting Israel with defamation and slander.  We applaud the student government and their positive and pro-active approach to this issue. Kol hakavod - well done!"
See here and here and here and here

However, well away from Bellingham, on another front, a new deplorable BDS initiative rears its ugly head (see here and here)

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