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April 24, 2014 1

Momentum For Divestment On California Campuses Falters

Despite the best efforts of anti-Israel stu­dent groups, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions debated on two Cal­i­for­nia cam­puses failed last night by wide mar­gins, while a third passed by just one vote.sdsu divest logo

Stu­dent Sen­a­tors at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity (3 Yes-16 No-3 Absten­tions) and the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Santa Bar­bara (8–16-0), rejected res­o­lu­tions that called on their respec­tive uni­ver­si­ties to with­draw invest­ments from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel. A sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tion did, how­ever, pass by a razor-thin mar­gin at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Riverside.

The results of the River­side res­o­lu­tion, though not favor­able, are telling in and of them­selves about the state of sup­port for BDS on Amer­i­can col­lege cam­puses. The final vote was 8–7 and that was only after the Sen­a­tors voted to con­duct a closed vote so that the rep­re­sen­ta­tives would not have to openly declare their anti-Israel views.

More­over, it appears that the pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate did not sup­port the res­o­lu­tion. Based on live-tweeting from the event, it seems that the pres­i­dent, Sai Pata­dia, asked those in favor of divest­ment to explain why it was legit­i­mate to sin­gle out Israel for pun­ish­ment, an issue often cited by the pro-Israel com­mu­nity. [Last Novem­ber, Pata­dia also tried to resolve an issue that had arisen when a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion on cam­pus was intro­duced in stealth, strip­ping pro-Israel stu­dents of the oppor­tu­nity to present an alter­na­tive view­point.  This time around, Pata­dia encour­aged Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine to reach out to the pro-Israel com­mu­nity and let them know when the res­o­lu­tion was drafted, accord­ing to an arti­cle in the cam­pus newspaper.]

UC River­side and UC Santa Bar­bara have both dealt with sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tions before. A res­o­lu­tion sev­eral months ago was voted down and last March, a res­o­lu­tion passed but was then rescinded a month later. At UC Santa Bar­bara, a vote last April failed 10–11-1 where­upon pro-Israel stu­dents took it upon them­selves to run for Stu­dent Sen­ate, pre­sum­ably in the hopes of avoid­ing a sim­i­larly close vote this year.

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March 28, 2014 0

Update: BDS Resolutions Fail At Michigan And Loyola

Last week, we blogged about impend­ing divest­ment res­o­lu­tions on four U.S. col­lege cam­puses. Two of those res­o­lu­tions were voted on, and ulti­mately voted down, this week.

Here’s what happened:Michigan Divest

  • At the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan, a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion intro­duced by SAFE (Stu­dents Allied for Free­dom and Equal­ity) was defeated by a 25–9 vote and five absten­tions by the Cen­tral Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment (CSG). ADL praised the CSG for defeat­ing the res­o­lu­tion and also spoke out against reports that CSG rep­re­sen­ta­tives were allegedly threat­ened and called anti-Semitic slurs such as “kike”’ and “dirty Jew.”
  • At Loy­ola Uni­ver­sity, the Stu­dent Sen­ate held a sec­ond vote on SJP’s divest­ment res­o­lu­tion on Wednes­day, March 25. The res­o­lu­tion ini­tially passed with a 12–10 vote with and nine absten­tions. The next day though, the Pres­i­dent of Loyola’s United Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, Pedro Guer­rero, vetoed the res­o­lu­tion, explain­ing his deci­sion to do so on the grounds that the res­o­lu­tion “caused harm among the stu­dent com­mu­nity” and that “diver­sity of thought on cam­pus was not taken into consideration.”

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March 28, 2014 1

MPAC Steps Up Involvement In Anti-Israel Activity

The Mus­lim Pub­lic Affairs Coun­cil, one of the lead­ing Amer­i­can Mus­lim advo­cacy orga­ni­za­tions in the U.S., has shown increased involve­ment in grass­roots anti-Israel activ­ity this month.

On March 30, the group will co-sponsor pre­sen­ta­tions by anti-Israel activist Mazin Qum­siyeh at two churches in Cal­i­for­nia. The pre­sen­ta­tions, titled “The Impor­tance of Pales­tine in Mid­dle East Pol­i­tics and The U.S. Citizen’s Role,” will be deliv­ered at All Saints Church in Pasadena and St. Mark Pres­by­ter­ian Church in New­port Beach.

Qum­siyeh, a pro­fes­sor at Beth­le­hem and Birzeit Uni­ver­si­ties and for­mer pro­fes­sor at Duke and Yale Uni­ver­si­ties, has a long record of engag­ing in extreme cam­paigns against Israel, includ­ing advo­cat­ing for a one-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, sup­port­ing the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tion (BDS) cam­paign against Israel, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in “non­vi­o­lent” protests against Israel in the West Bank that often turn violent.

Al Marayati at IAW Loyola

Salam Al-Marayati post­ing at Loy­ola Marymount’s mock “apartheid wall.”

After the Boston Marathon bomb­ing last April, Qum­siyeh wrote a post on his blog derid­ing the “Zion­ist spin” of the story, which he claimed was try­ing to hold Mus­lims respon­si­ble for the attack but ignored “past false flag oper­a­tions by the Israeli Mossad.” He has pre­vi­ously accused Israel and its sup­port­ers in the United States of being respon­si­ble for “wars on Arab and Mus­lim countries.”

In addi­tion, last week, Salam Al-Marayati, pres­i­dent of MPAC, par­tic­i­pated in the first Pales­tine Aware­ness Week at Loy­ola Mary­mount Uni­ver­sity in Los Ange­les. The event was orga­nized by the newly formed chap­ter of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine on cam­pus. On his Face­book page, Al Maray­ati posted a pic­ture of him­self stand­ing near the mock “apartheid wall.”

Although MPAC expressly sup­ports “a just and com­pre­hen­sive two-state solu­tion,” its coop­er­a­tion with and par­tic­i­pa­tion in events that sup­port BDS and a one-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict raise seri­ous con­cerns about the organization’s stated platform.

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