Breaking through the B(D)S: Why speak at Ariel University?

When I first saw the initials BDS, I thought it was a sort of perverted sexual activity. I soon found out that it was a perverted hijacking of liberalism and pacifism, allowing closet anti-Semites to strike a public pose as do-gooders while singling out the Jewish State as the root of all evil and the one and only target of their rage.

These “useful idiots” courageously stage protests against local cosmetic shops, soap stores, dance troupes and classical musicians for the unforgivable crime of being Israeli. Instead of the Brownshirts who stood in front of shops in Berlin in the 1930’s, barking “Jewish shop, don’t buy here!”, the BDSers try to block shoppers from entering, shrieking “Jewish Zionist products, don’t buy here!” These boycott zombies claim they are doing it in support for their cherished noble victims, the so-called “Palestinians”. Interestingly enough, when scores of these Palestinian Arabs are killed in Iraq, Egypt and Jordan and thousands of them slaughtered in Syria, the BDS screamers are completely silent – no protests in the streets, no campus sit-ins, no flotillas. This made me realize that BDS must stand for Blatantly Discriminatory Stunts.

Ahh, for the good old days, when you didn't have to pretend to be liberal to boycott the Jews!

Ahh, for the good old days, when you didn’t have to pretend to be liberal to boycott the Jews!

The lowest point in all this nonsense is the attempt to cut off any academic or intellectual contact with Israel. Even worse, some of the instigators of this very anti-liberal and anti-pacifist scheme are teachers working in Israeli schools. Many of them despise their own country but they are very happy to receive that Israeli paycheck and benefits.

Three years ago, when I heard that the favorite punching bag of the academic boycotters was Ariel College in Samaria, I felt the urge to do something, anything, to fight against this hatred and injustice. I contacted the Architecture Department and offered to do a free lectio magistralis on the spiritual symbolism in Italian architecture. Thank G-d, I get honoraria for lecturing around the world, so I flew to Israel on my own dime and went to speak for free – and for freedom – to the students of Ariel.

I was not prepared for what I found there – a bustling campus with over 14,000 students: Jews, Muslims, Christians, religious, secular, you name it. The students who come from the territories under the Palestinian Authority are thrilled to learn in Ariel. They get a great preparation for a real career and a real future, instead of the colleges under the Abbas regime where they learn hatred and Holocaust denial and very few constructive skills. The only sad note of my visit was when I was taking candid shots around the campus and noticed the Arab students from the PA desperately hiding their faces, so people back in their towns would not see that they were studying with Israelis and infidels. I give them a huge amount of respect for risking so much in order to learn their craft.

The lecture took place in a state-of-the-art auditorium, packed with hundreds of eager students who cheered when they heard that someone had flown in from Europe specifically to support their learning and to punch a hole in the hypocritical boycott. I told the students and faculty that it was my honor to be with them. That day still holds a special place in my heart as my favorite lecturing experience.

Now, in spite of all the haters, Ariel is a full-fledged university, one that would be the pride of any city in the free world. I can’t wait to lecture there again this month, and I wholeheartedly urge professors, architects, engineers, physicists and other experts from around the world to come and speak and witness for yourselves the miracle that is Ariel University. As for the stupid boycott, I finally found out the true meaning of BDS: once you take out the D which stands for Demagoguery and Demonization, all you are left with is BS.

About the Author
Roy Doliner is an international writer and lecturer, and the co-author of the NY Times best-seller THE SISTINE SECRETS. He is often seen in Italian media speaking on the history of Art, Italian Jewry, and the Renaissance. He has lectured at the Knesset, Yale University, top museums in Italy, the 92nd St. Y, and Ariel University, among many others. His latest book is HIDDEN BENEATH THE BEAUTY: Kabbalistic Secrets in Italian Art.