I am a graduate of Barnard College, class of 1986. For the most part I have been quite proud of my school and was mostly happy with my experience while an undergraduate and also as an alum. I have attended reunions every five years, as well as some other occasional events. I was the class correspondent for my cohort for five years, writing columns for the Alumnae Magazine.

As of yesterday I am deeply embarrassed and angry about the mood at my alma mater. Why? Because half the student body, participating in a student council election, voted 64% versus 36% to ask the school administration to divest from eight corporations that do business with the state of Israel. 



These young women, some deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, some just naïve, are targeting one nation, the only truly democratic and inclusive nation in the Middle East. They have not issued condemnations of Syria nor Iran nor any other nation for their horrible treatment of women, of minorities, of immigrants, of the use of chemical weapons and so on. No, they have honed in one nation and are flocking to a mandate of the BDS movement.


Many of us alumnae are angry, upset, and are protesting. We are taking to social media to express our grave disappointment in the students, and are beseeching the administration not to kowtow to this foolish demand for divestment. We are angry that this hostile environment has grown so toxic. Barnard has one of the largest Jewish populations, and this has occurred. No doubt, sadly, some of the Jewish students are actually in favor of this vote. And no doubt, some non-Jewish students are unhappy about this vote.

I shall be monitoring closely this awful set of events. I find it a slap in the face to all the pro-Israel and Jewish students and graduates, staff and families. I am appalled that these students show such a lack of critical thinking; this is supposed to be one of the elite, most intellectual colleges in the United States. This shows, sadly, that the "best and brightest" can be blind and even stupid.

I do not think Israel is perfect, and I do think it can be criticized in various ways. But I do not think the tenets of BDS should be given credibility! And for young women to hitch their wagons to such nonsense is very upsetting.

Let me bring up two people right now, as I conclude. One is a woman with whom I'm friendly, who graduated with me from Barnard. C is a lovely woman, warm and bright. She is African-American and Jewish. She too is quite upset about this turn of events. I would never want anyone to make blanket assumptions about African-Americans and their relationships to Israel.

Another person is DJ Pierce, much better known as Shangela, one of the most popular queens of RuPaul's Drag Race television show. Shangela recently did shows in Israel, in Tel Aviv. Shangela expressed a great deal of optimism and cheer about performing in Israel, and while many fans were thrilled, others attacked Shangela for choosing to go to Israel. Shangela, you rock.


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