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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 A res­o­lu­tion sev­eral months ago was voted down and last March, a res­o­lu­tion passed but was then rescinded a month later.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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November 14, 2012 0

Non-Binding Student Divestment Resolution Passes at UC Irvine

The stu­dent sen­ate at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, passed a non-binding res­o­lu­tion last night call­ing for divest­ment from sev­eral com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Israel. The res­o­lu­tion, titled “Divest­ment from Com­pa­nies that Profit from Apartheid,” requires the approval of the stu­dent government’s exec­u­tive board before it may be sent to the admin­is­tra­tion for their consideration.

The res­o­lu­tion includes com­pa­nies that have long been tar­geted by the anti-Israel divest­ment cam­paign, includ­ing Gen­eral Elec­tric, Hewlett-Packard and Cater­pil­lar. It also includes lesser known com­pa­nies, how­ever, like Cement Road­stones Hold­ing which sells cement to Israel, as well as Raytheon, a defense tech­nol­ogy com­pany. Raytheon recently part­nered with an Israeli com­pany to build the highly suc­cess­ful Iron Dome sys­tem that inter­cepts incom­ing rock­ets from Gaza.

Despite the pas­sage of the res­o­lu­tion, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia sys­tem already has a clear pol­icy against divest­ment.  In 2010, when the Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine chap­ter at UC Berke­ley put forth a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion, the UC board and Pres­i­dent Mark Yudof issued a state­ment say­ing that the board would only sup­port a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion “when the United States gov­ern­ment declares that a for­eign regime is com­mit­ting acts of geno­cide.” The state­ment added, “The U.S. has not made any dec­la­ra­tion regard­ing the State of Israel and, there­fore, we will not bring a rec­om­men­da­tion before the Board to divest from com­pa­nies doing busi­ness with the State of Israel.” The state­ment also noted that the resolution’s sole focus on Israel “greatly dis­turbs us.”

Last night’s vote took place with what appears to have been delib­er­ate secrecy and lit­tle fan­fare. A Web site and fan pages on Face­book and Twit­ter with the han­dle “Irvine Divest” were all set up less than 72 hours before the vote. It seems not many were aware that the vote was tak­ing place until after it had occurred.

Jew­ish Voice for Peace, the largest Jew­ish anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion in the U.S., attended the meet­ing, accord­ing to reports on social media. Sup­port­ing boy­cott and divest­ment ini­tia­tives across the coun­try has become one of JVP’s pri­mary mis­sions. The group has sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives to advo­cate for divest­ment on sev­eral col­lege cam­puses in the past few years. JVP also deliv­ered speeches at two church con­fer­ences over the sum­mer where the orga­ni­za­tions had been con­sid­er­ing divest­ment. A Los Ange­les orga­nizer for JVP, Estee Chan­dler, even blogged about her expe­ri­ence watch­ing the events of last night unfold and described the vote as “historic.”

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May 2, 2012 0

Anti-Semite to Appear at MSU’s “Palestine Liberation Week”

Update: Amir Abdul Malik Ali used his plat­form at UC Irvine to rant about Zionism’s respon­si­bil­ity for the finan­cial col­lapse, the alleged vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Islam and global cor­rup­tion issues.

The Mus­lim Stu­dent Union at UC Irvine is at it again.

The group has invited Amir Abdul Malik Ali, a vir­u­lent anti-Semite, to speak at the uni­ver­sity next week. His talk is titled “The Strug­gle Has No Bor­ders.

Malik Ali’s sched­uled appear­ance is part of a week­long pro­gram being spon­sored by MSU next week called “Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Week: Get­ting to the Root of the Occu­pa­tion.” Other anti-Israel speak­ers sched­uled to appear include Hatem Baz­ian and Hedy Epstein. In addi­tion, mem­bers of the “Irvine 11, who were sus­pended for dis­rupt­ing a speech by Israeli Ambas­sador Michael Oren in Feb­ru­ary 2010, will return to cam­pus to take part in the event.

Malik Ali, who is affil­i­ated with the anti-Semitic Sabiqun move­ment and is the imam of a mosque in Oak­land, is reg­u­larly invited to speak on cam­puses in Cal­i­for­nia. Dur­ing his appear­ances at Irvine, Malik Ali has con­spir­a­to­ri­ally claimed that “Zion­ist Jews” were respon­si­ble for 9/11 and that they con­trol the U.S. gov­ern­ment, the econ­omy and the media. He has referred to Jews and Zion­ists as “the new Nazis” and “the party of Satan.” And, dur­ing an address titled “Death to Apartheid” in May 2010, Malik Ali responded “yes” to ques­tions about whether he sup­ports Hamas and Hezbollah.

MSU at UC Irvine did not invite Malik Ali to its annual anti-Israel pro­gram in 2011, but he had spo­ken at the pro­gram every year before that going back until at least 2006.

News of Malik Ali’s appear­ance coin­cides with an arti­cle that was pub­lished yes­ter­day in The Jew­ish Daily For­ward that describes how Jew­ish stu­dents and Hil­lels have begun work­ing with chap­ters of Mus­lim Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion and other Mus­lim stu­dent groups on cam­pus. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Hil­lel chap­ter respon­si­ble for UC Irvine was quoted in the arti­cle say­ing that Jew­ish stu­dents on cam­pus are engag­ing with their Mus­lim stu­dent coun­ter­parts and described it as “a new era.” Unfor­tu­nately, MSU’s con­tin­ued will­ing­ness to pro­vide a plat­form to an anti-Semite sug­gests otherwise.

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