(Providence Journal) Editorial - It's odd and alarming that of all the world's states - China, with its massive human rights violations and internment of tens of thousands of Muslims; Syria, where the ruling dictator Bashar al-Assad murdered hundreds of thousands; or Vladimir Putin's Russia, which is occupying parts of Ukraine - there is one that draws particular ire. What's odder still is that country is a stalwart U.S. ally and a beacon of freedom and democracy in an unfriendly neighborhood. We refer to the State of Israel, the world's only Jewish-majority state. Brown University in Providence is the latest to target Israel. Last week, the campus held a referendum on whether to support the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" (BDS) movement. Students passed the measure overwhelmingly. President Christina Paxson said, "Brown's endowment is not a political instrument to be used to express views on complex social and political issues." Good. But the mere act of the vote seems troubling. Israel, like any advanced democracy, is far from perfect. But it's an obscenity to suggest it in any way resembles apartheid-era South Africa. Israel is surrounded by countries that wish its destruction, yet it carries on, remarkably successfully. We're deeply troubled, too, at the double-standard at play. Where are the calls for divestment from other countries, which manifestly abuse human rights vastly more than Israel does? It's telling, and not in a good way, that Israel, the world's only Jewish state, is the object of such disproportionate criticism. It is chilling that this group of people is so frequently singled out. And it is wrong.