The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is busy promoting anti-Semitism, with universities leading the charge.
Sadly, university students, unions, and those in show business who believe they are lending their energy in support of the Palestinian people might take a moment to understand that they are supporting politicians -- both from the Palestinian territories and from terrorist sponsors -- who are, in fact, using the Palestinian people as pawns in a game of chess where oil, money and power are the rewards.
Yes, you feel the pain of the Palestinians; yes, you understand their plight. But you also have seen how students can be used by political agencies. During the late 1970s, when the Shah of Iran ruled, like any dictator, he protected his own power at all costs. Freedom of expression and debate was nonexistent, causing intellectuals and university students to revolt, shouting "long live freedom." University students are young and idealistic; they support the perceived underdogs, wherever they believe them to be.
The regime that replaced the Shah, however, was even more repressive. Every aspect of the life of every Iranian was controlled and decided by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranians were betrayed and used. Many innocent people had lent their voices to a group that had no respect for them, but regardless used their voices to advance their own political agenda.
In Iran, students protested the Shah in the name of freedom and inadvertently helped bring Ayatollah Khomeini to power. When Khomeini imposed the hijab on all women, even Christians, Jews and others had to wear it. He controlled every aspect of every life. It was only later that so many Iranians realized they had been used, and after the fraudulent elections of 2009, gave their lives, either by imprisonment or death, trying to protest the regime they had brought into being.
While Palestinian politicians are trying to win the public relations battle, the Palestinians are the ones continually suffering.
BDS supporters are quick to point a finger at Israel for the Palestinians' misery. What they fail to recognize is the responsibility of the Palestinian leaders for corruption and failed governance. They also fail to recognize that Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, the only country in a vast region where all citizens -- Jewish, Christian and Muslim alike -- are governed equally under law and enjoy the same benefits.
Consequently, I have no have compassion for those who support the BDS movement: they are blind to what the BDS movement represents. The movement shuns improving the lives of Palestinians; it only provides legitimacy to repressive Palestinians leaders, who in many ways resemble their Iranian counterparts.
People who claim they really care about helping Palestinians would, instead of only trying to hurt Israel, consider how to assist the Palestinians, whose own leaders siphon off aid money they receive from other countries. Students might consider how to establish industries to improve the Palestinian job market, and internal human rights abuses, instead of boycotting Israeli companies that employ thousands of Palestinians. (Image source: Takver/Wikimedia Commons)
Rather than promote BDS, well-meaning idealists might consider how best to assist the Palestinians, whose own leaders siphon off aid money they receive from other countries. Students might consider how to establish industries to improve the Palestinian job market, instead of boycotting Israeli companies that employ thousands of Palestinians. They might make an effort to understand the real situation and work towards promoting a lasting peace, instead of misguidedly worsening the plight of Palestinians.
Peace requires empathy; the BDS movement, with its secret aim of destroying a free and democratic nation, promotes nothing but resentment, division and hate.
Dr. Sima Goel lives and works in Montreal, Canada. Her memoir Fleeing the Hijab: A Jewish Woman's Escape from Iran is available in print and digital copies.