Should you happen to click to the Island School of Building Arts (est. 1997) website today, you’ll discover a hurriedly added text addition, below the permanent images and texts, stating: “ISBA REGISTRATION UPDATE: After significant thought and listening to all interested parties, ISBA has decided to rescind any restriction placed on accepting students from Israel and apologize for any impact or inconvenience. ISBA remains acceptant to all and will continue to do so without restrictions.”
Obviously, the curious addition was made because someone made a fuss. In this case it was an Israeli student named Stav Daron, who applied to British Columbia’s privately run ISBA to take a $2,500 course, and had paid for a very expensive textbook, only to receive an e-mail from school manager Patricia Rokosh, telling him: “Due to the conflict and illegal settlement activity in the region, we are not accepting applications from Israel.”
The story was run on Israel’s Channel 2 News and in a few Israeli newspapers, citing Daron’s unhappy response: “It’s really sad to hear that a place that takes pride in taking students from across the world would behave like this.”
OK, here comes the best part. The Vancouver Sun emailed Rokosh a question regarding those “significant thoughts” that had led to the school’s change of policy, asking if Daron was the only Israeli to have been rejected over being Israeli, and Rokosh emailed back:
“We have enjoyed the company of a number of students from Israel in the past. This was a misunderstanding of the UN Resolution and an honest mistake on our part.”
She was obviously referring to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity,” demanding that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The “significant thoughts” process which led from that resolution to boycotting an Israeli student is truly mind boggling. Rokosh might has well have punched the first Israeli she saw on the street in the spirit of that resolution, with the same bizarre justification.
Incidentally, Daron insists he applied to the school because it’s fabulous, and when we toured the website we couldn’t agree more. Just do something about that Rokosh person.