If one wishes to take a principled stand against “violations of human rights and international law,” by all means do so (On the Campus, Jan. 7). Start with divestment campaigns against the largest violators such as China (Tibet anyone?) or Russia (Ukraine? Chechnya?). Then move to other heinous actors such as Saudi (“I now pronounce you man and chattel”) Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Myanmar, and terrorist-ruled Gaza itself, to name but a few.
But if you insist on singling out Israel, you must explain how Israel’s offenses are so great as to eclipse those of the other countries mentioned here, particularly when Israel stands out among these as being the only democracy, the only country in which free speech, universal voting rights, and other practices of a democratic society are allowed, the only country with a vibrant free press and public debate, the only Mideast country in which women and all minorities have equal rights, and in which freedom of religion is practiced.
This is not to say that all Israeli policies are good or even acceptable. Nor is it to say that Palestinians do not deserve their own state and self-determination — they do. However, those who would single out Israel for divestment and sanctions must explain why it is uniquely deserving of such treatment, and how this is likely to lead to any constructive end.
It is difficult to arrive at any conclusion other than that the proponents of divestment either are well-meaning but badly misinformed, or may be acting on prejudice rather than principle.