BGU Expert on Combating Israel Boycott
January 24, 2017
Florida Jewish Journal – BGU Prof. Emeritus Ilan Troen recently visited South Florida synagogues to share his expertise on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and how to combat it.
Prof. Troen is the former dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at BGU and previously served as the director of BGU’s Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism. He is an expert in the field of Israel studies — particularly in Israeli social, political, transnational, and comparative history.
“People all over have children and grandchildren who are dealing with BDS on their college campuses and they were happy to come share their experiences,” says Prof. Troen.
“One thing the Jewish community definitely needs to do is to call on all its friends in the non-Jewish community, of which we have many.”
Prof. Troen was frank about the increased influence of the BDS movement, but still expressed hope for the future.
“This problem is not going away. The opposition is well-funded and well-organized. But, if we band together, and keep up the pressure on our side being proactive, I think we can turn the BDS movement from the major irritant it is now into only a minor one,” he says.
About the talks, Alan Newman, a national AABGU board member from West Palm Beach, says, “Prof. Ilan Troen clearly articulated the historic underpinnings of the malicious, counter-productive and unjust program of the anti-Israel BDS movement.
“He clarified how BDS is being fought out on both the American campus scene — where Jewish students are castigated — and in the international trade arena, where pro-Israel advocates are dampening the effects of ill-conceived pro-Palestinian pressure against Israel.”
Rabbi Leonid Feldman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach, says that although he has been talking to his congregation for years about the negative effects of the BDS movement, Troen’s visit served as a wake-up call for his congregants.
“Unfortunately, Prof. Troen brought us some not so good news as he said this situation is only going to get worse,” Rabbi Feldman says. “But, he broke down the lies of the BDS movement and advised us what to do about it.
“First off, is to educate ourselves as much as we can about the history and story of Israel so we can fight these lies with truth. Second is to complain to the media every time we see or hear any of these lies being perpetuated. And, finally, we need to support any of the many organizations that are already spreading a pro-Israel and anti-BDS message.”
Born in Boston, Prof. Troen made aliyah with his family in 1975 to Omer, a community outside Beer-Sheva. He is a frequent speaker around the country on this topic. Additionally, he has authored or edited numerous books on American, Jewish and Israeli history.
He is also the president of the Association for Israel Studies and the founding editor of Israel Studies. Co-sponsored by and edited at BGU’s Ben-Gurion Research Institute, this is the leading journal in the field. Prof. Troen is currently the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies at Brandeis University and the founding director of their Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.
“AABGU sponsors many speakers and events to educate the community about issues that are vital to Israel as well as the research, innovation and exciting initiatives at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev,” says Reva Feldman, regional director of the Greater Florida Region.
“Whether it’s medicine, water research or cyber security, we’re bringing our best and brightest experts to the area all year long.”