Tom Friedman: B.D.S. ignores Israel’s “complexities”

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's latest op-ed spotlights the efforts of Hossam Haick. The Israeli-Arab professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology will be leading a MOOC (massive open online course) on nanotechnology. Because the course will be available in Arabic, Arab students from all over the Middle East have signed up for it, which, Friedman argues, serves as proof that Arab leaders have failed to capitalize on their constituencies' hunger for education.

“Look how eager all these young Arabs and Persians are for the tools and resources to realize their full potential, wherever they can find that learning,” Friedman says in the Feb. 18 coluimn. “Arab dictators so underestimated their people for so long. That’s what fueled the Arab awakening. It makes you weep for the wasted generations and pray this will be the last of them.”

Friedman also issues a sort-of wake-up call to supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, saying that there is more to Israel than the Jewish State's conflict with the Palestinian people.

This story [about Haick’s efforts] is a useful reminder that Israel is a country … it’s still a work in progress. It has its lows, like the occupation and economic discrimination against Israeli Arabs, and its highs, like the collaboration between Haick and the Technion, which is providing a tool for those in the Arabic-speaking world eager to grasp the new technologies reshaping the global economy.

Those, like members of the B.D.S. — boycott, divestiture, sanctions — movement who treat Israel as if it is only the sum of how it deals with the West Bank and therefore deserves to be delegitimized as a state, would do well to reflect on some of these complexities.

Haick will begin leading the course, which is titled, “Nanotechnology and Nanosensors,” on March 3. The class will also be available in English.