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March 21, 2014 1

Divestment Resolutions Abound on U.S. Campuses This Week

In the wake of Israeli Apartheid Week, which recently wrapped up after tak­ing place on sev­eral dozen col­lege cam­puses dur­ing the month of March, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions were intro­duced on four U.S. col­lege cam­puses this loyoladivestweek.

Here’s a run­down on the res­o­lu­tions – two of which passed, two of which were held up – that were intro­duced this week:

Loy­ola Uni­ver­sity – Although the Loy­ola Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter had dis­sem­i­nated a peti­tion urg­ing the uni­ver­sity to with­draw invest­ments in five cor­po­ra­tions, the cam­pus was blind­sided by the sur­prise intro­duc­tion of a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion in  the Stu­dent Sen­ate on Tues­day. The res­o­lu­tion, which passed by a vote of 26–0-2, had not pre­vi­ously been announced and stu­dents who sought to oppose it were not given the oppor­tu­nity to express their perspective.

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity – Also on Tues­day, a res­o­lu­tion call­ing on Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity (ASU) to divest from Cater­pil­lar, which pro­vides heavy machin­ery to the Israeli army, was tabled by the Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment. The bill was intro­duced by the group “ASU Divest from Cater­pil­lar Inc.” and it will report­edly be amended and rein­tro­duced by ASU’s SJP chap­ter in the near future.

Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan – The Cen­tral Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment (CSG) was sched­uled to vote on a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion ini­ti­ated by the anti-Israel stu­dent group “Stu­dents Allied for Free­dom and Equal­ity” (SAFE). The meet­ing attracted an over­whelm­ingly large num­ber of stu­dents and as the room became over­crowded, the meet­ing was moved to another loca­tion on cam­pus where an announce­ment was made that the vot­ing ses­sion would be post­poned indef­i­nitely. Accord­ing to the Michi­gan Daily, the crowd then “pressed up against the stan­chions divid­ing the room and chanted ‘Divest’ at the CSG mem­bers for sev­eral min­utes.” In addi­tion, more than 100 stu­dents gath­ered out­side of the Michi­gan Union to rally in favor of divestment.

The fol­low­ing day, mem­bers of SAFE declared that they were con­duct­ing a “sit-in” near the stu­dent gov­ern­ment offices until the CSG would hold a vote on their divest­ment res­o­lu­tion. The stu­dents  took over the space and refused to leave until they were told that they would be arrested. Reports on Twit­ter indi­cate that mem­bers of the group are cur­rently recon­ven­ing for the third day of their “sit-in.”

San Diego State Uni­ver­sity – San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Stu­dent Diver­sity Com­mis­sion passed a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion by a vote of 11–6-2 on March 19. The res­o­lu­tion now will report­edly be brought before the uni­ver­sity council.

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March 6, 2014 6

Protestors At Cal Poly Pomona Prevent Israeli Soldiers From Speaking

Stu­dents at Cal­i­for­nia State Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­sity — Pomona shouted down a group of Israeli sol­diers who were invited to speak on their cam­pus by Hil­lel on Feb­ru­ary 27, 2014.cal-poly-pomona-protest-israel-soldier-adl

The sol­diers, who had intro­duced them­selves and explained that they would be deliv­er­ing per­sonal sto­ries about their lives and expe­ri­ences while serv­ing in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), were inter­rupted by stu­dent pro­test­ers who shouted “baby killers,” “rapists,” and “terrorists.”

Even before the sol­diers began their pre­sen­ta­tions, stu­dents in the audi­ence cov­ered their mouths with black tape and held posters that made var­i­ous alle­ga­tions con­cern­ing the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. Shortly after the sol­diers started to intro­duce them­selves, the pro­test­ers per­sis­tently shouted in such a way that other stu­dents in the room were unable to hear what was being said.

Although some pro­test­ers were asked to leave the room, atten­dees had dif­fi­culty hear­ing the sol­diers’ pre­sen­ta­tions. Doron Feuer, the Pres­i­dent of the Cal Poly Pomona’s Hil­lel, told the cam­pus news­pa­per, The Poly Post that, “It was extremely dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to hear what the sol­diers were say­ing, even for the peo­ple sit­ting at the very front…What was sup­posed to be an edu­ca­tional event rapidly became a dis­rup­tive and chaotic experience.”

One of the sol­diers also spoke to the cam­pus news­pa­per and claimed he felt insulted by the pro­test­ers’ tac­tics, stat­ing, “It was sup­posed to be a civ­i­lized dia­logue, but I heard hatred and I saw hatred in their eyes…We came to talk about peace.”

ADL in Los Ange­les pro­vided resources to the Hil­lel on the Cal Poly Pomona cam­pus and con­tin­ues to work closely with the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion of the Greater San Gabriel & Pomona Val­leys on the community’s response to this inci­dent. ADL is equipped with a broad range of pre­ven­tive and reac­tive pro­grams and resources to address the chal­lenges of hate on cam­pus. We work to empower stu­dents, fac­ulty, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers to stand up on their cam­puses and in their com­mu­ni­ties and effect change.

Stu­dent efforts to express oppo­si­tion to speak­ers or events on cam­pus are gen­er­ally part of a healthy cam­pus envi­ron­ment fos­ter­ing a free exchange of ideas. But are cer­tain dis­rup­tive tac­tics com­monly used by anti-Israel activists that are anath­ema to those ideals.

While anti-Israel protests may be pro­tected by free speech rights, the protests can­not dis­rupt nor­mal school func­tions, obstruct access to school build­ings, cre­ate per­va­sive, severe, or per­sis­tent harass­ment, or phys­i­cally intim­i­date or threaten indi­vid­u­als. When the protests vio­late these para­me­ters, stu­dents should alert the uni­ver­sity and ask admin­is­tra­tors to take action.

These dis­rup­tion tac­tics vary and can range from inter­rupt­ing the speaker and pre­vent­ing him or her from speak­ing to silent protests. For exam­ple, on March 3, 2014, Israeli Pro­fes­sor Josef Olmert faced silent pro­test­ers at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity as he deliv­ered a guest lec­ture to a Polit­i­cal Sci­ence class.

The stu­dents stood in the back of the class­room and held signs with provoca­tive state­ments such as, “Zion­ism = Racism,” “SDSU DIVEST,” “Boy­cott Israel.” After Olmert’s pre­sen­ta­tion, the stu­dents con­tin­ued to protest out­side of the lec­ture hall.

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February 27, 2014 0

Eviction Notices At Northeastern Kick-Off Israeli Apartheid Week

Update: Feb­ru­ary 27 — Yes­ter­day, mem­bers of the Uni­ver­sity of North Car­olina (UNC) SJP chap­ter, dis­trib­uted hun­dreds of mock evic­tion notices in res­i­dence halls on the UNC cam­pus. Just like at North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity, where the stu­dents began to use the hash­tag “#Boston­Mock­E­vic­tion” on Twit­ter after post­ing them, at UNC they began to use “#UNC­Mock­E­vic­tion.” The mock evic­tion notices were also used to pro­mote UNC’s Israeli Apartheid Week, sched­uled to take place on the cam­pus from March 3 to March 7.

Mock evic­tion notices were slid under res­i­dence hall doors of many stu­dents at North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity ear­lier this week. Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) took respon­si­bil­ity for the action and claimed that these notices were posted to kick off Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which is tak­ing place this week on dozens of col­lege cam­puses across the United States.northeastern-iaw-eviction-2014-sjp

The notices at North­east­ern stated that the affected dorm rooms would be demol­ished in three days and that “evic­tion notices are rou­tinely given to Pales­tin­ian fam­i­lies liv­ing under oppres­sive Israeli occu­pa­tion for no rea­son other than their eth­nic background…to cleanse the region of its Arab pop­u­la­tion, and cre­ate space for set­tle­ments.” In real­ity, some Pales­tini­ans in the West Bank receive evic­tion notices if their homes were built ille­gally or need to be demol­ished because of Israeli secu­rity con­cerns, not because of the res­i­dents’ “eth­nic background.”

Lan­guage in the notice echoed many of the themes of IAW, includ­ing alle­ga­tions of Israeli racism and apartheid, calls for Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns against Israel, and claims that Israel is com­mit­ting war crimes such as eth­nic cleans­ing against the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple. North­east­ern SJP later issued a com­ment on Twit­ter that “some stu­dents don’t like fac­ing uncom­fort­able facts about Israeli apartheid.”northeastern-iaw-eviction-2014-2-sjp

The notice, var­i­ous ver­sions of which have been dis­trib­uted at sev­eral other col­lege cam­puses in recent years, was also made to appear as if it was issued by a munic­i­pal court, mak­ing the threat of demo­li­tion seem more real to the stu­dents who received them.

In the past year, anti-Israel stu­dent groups at the fol­low­ing uni­ver­si­ties have cir­cu­lated mock evic­tion notices:

  • Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan, Decem­ber 2013 – Over 1,000 stu­dents received mock evic­tion notices posted by mem­bers of the stu­dent group “Stu­dents Allied for Free­dom and Equal­ity” at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan, Ann Arbor.  These notices claimed that Israel evicts Pales­tini­ans from their homes for the pur­pose of “mak[ing] life so mis­er­able for the Arabs that they leave.”
  • Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity, Octo­ber 2013 – Stu­dents from the Rutgers-New Brunswick SJP chap­ter posted mock evic­tion notices in res­i­dence halls to “edu­cate” stu­dents about the expe­ri­ence for some Pales­tini­ans whose homes are demol­ished. Text on the mock evic­tion notices read, “Your suite is sched­uled for demo­li­tion in the next three days… If you do not vacate the premise within this time frame, we reserve the right to destroy all remain­ing belongings…This may seem like unre­al­is­ti­cally harsh treat­ment, but this is the actual state of affairs in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”
  • San Diego State Uni­ver­sity, March 2013 – Mock evic­tion notices were posted on stu­dents’ res­i­dence hall room doors by mem­bers of the SDSU SJP chap­ter. The notices, which claimed that “$30 bil­lion US tax dol­lars have been used to fund Israeli apartheid in the past decade,” were meant to raise aware­ness over Israel’s alleged human rights vio­la­tions against Palestinians.

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