Letters to the Editor: Wake Up, BDS Is Succeeding

A student protest against Israel's policies at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa, March 8, 2017.
Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/G

Wake up, BDS is succeeding

In response to “Gilad Erdan’s ‘1984’ moment in the war against BDS” (David Rosenberg, Friday).

Numerous articles in Haaretz and elsewhere, such as David Rosenberg’s, claim that the BDS movement has hardly had any effect on Israel, so it doesn’t justify the energy and time (and money) spent on it here in Israel.

But these writers don’t understand what the BDS movement, in America at least, is about, and what its real goal is, which it is achieving.

BDS supporters know full well that student resolutions at universities and protests against local and state government investment in Israel won’t have any real effect on investment policies and won’t have any real effect on Israel. University administrators and trustees of university funds are not obliged to act according to any student resolutions (and in this case, they don’t). Both they and government officials have a legal responsibility to invest funds in their care prudently, which rules out investing based on political considerations.

BDS supporters don’t expect to do any financial damage to Israel. What they are aiming at, and they are succeeding, is affecting the thinking of American college students, who, after all, include future leaders of the country, regarding Israel. These efforts, along with those of organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine, are succeeding in turning college students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, towards an antagonistic attitude regarding Israel, which they may keep as they become adults. We can see the results in the attitudes of younger Democrats in the U.S., which are caused not only by acts of the current government but also by BDS and similar groups.

So the BDS movement does pose a danger to Israel and needs to be fought. We can disagree about how to do that, but we should not underestimate that movement.

Joel Ackerman

Tel Aviv

Trump’s double standard on Lara Alqasem

An American citizen is being detained at a foreign airport. She is being humiliated and treated as an enemy combatant. She has a student VISA but permission to enter was denied. Lara Alqasem is in desperate need of help! Where is President Trump when you need him?

As I learned about the story of Lara, the Florida student who has been held at Ben-Gurion Airport for the last 10 days, I wondered why has he not tweeted about Lara? It is an outrage that President Trump never answered the cry for help from an American woman in distress in a foreign land, while he imposed a sanction on Turkey over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. The U.S. argued that Brunson was a victim of unfair and unjust detention.

Lara is a 22-year-old student from the University of Florida who has enrolled in graduate studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She arrived in Tel Aviv with a student visa issued by the Israeli Consulate in Miami. Hebrew University stands by Lara Alqasem, whose father is of Palestinian descent and whose mother is of European origin. I am sure there are more BDS supporters among the Palestinian and Jewish students at Hebrew University than there are at the University of Florida.

According to Haaretz, the minister of strategic affairs stated that if Alqasem condemned BDS and expressed regret for her political activities, he would consider allowing her in. That is preposterous and makes a mockery of the claim that Israel and the United States share common values.

Why did neither the president of the United States nor any other U.S. officials take action when Israel violated the rights of U.S. citizen Lara Alqasem? What about Lara’s unfair treatment and unjust detention? Looks like when it comes to Israel, SpongeBob has more guts than Trump.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Westerville, Ohio

Letters should be exclusive to Haaretz and must include the writers name, address and telephone number (an email address is not sufficient). Please note that letters are subject to editing. Please send your letters to letters@haaretz.co.il