Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

OSU rejects; NYU passes BDS

 

December 14, 2018



(JNS)—Ohio State University’s student government overwhelmingly rejected a resolution on Wednesday night, calling on the school to separate itself from firms that do business with Israel.

The BDS measure, defeated in a vote of 30-7 with three abstentions, called for OSU to “divest from, and boycott G4S, Caterpillar Inc., Sabra Dipping Company and Hewlett-Packard, all of which benefit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” in addition to severing academic ties with the Jewish state.

The Undergraduate Student Government’s president and vice president announced opposition to the measure before it was voted on.

“We believe the implications of this resolution would negatively impact students on our campus and their opportunities for scholarships, research, and field experiences,” wrote USG president Shamina Merchant and USG vice president Shawn Semmler. “It stands against the core principle of academic freedom, and we are concerned about the exclusionary language used to address our educators on campus.”

This is not the first time that a BDS resolution was introduced on a college campus, only to be later defeated.

However, a boycott resolution was passed earlier this year.

Organizations such as Protect OSU and StandWithUs applauded the outcome.

“Time and time again, we have seen how the hateful BDS movement has divided our campus and obstructed dialogue and cooperation,” Protect OSU, which fights BDS sentiment there, posted on Facebook.

“We are proud of students who stood up to this campaign of hate and defeated a bigoted resolution full of misleading claims,” said StandWithUS CEO Roz Rothstein. “BDS only serves to fuel the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and deepen divisions between students on campus.”

“It is disturbing that the International Socialist Organization, an off-campus group, was heavily involved in this campaign,” said Ron Krudo, executive director of campus affairs for StandWithUs. “The ISO has promoted ‘unconditional support’ for Hamas and denied that anti-Semitism is a problem in the British Labour Party. It’s encouraging that the student government rejected their hateful agenda.”

Gary Sukienik, who attended OSU as an undergraduate and is now a student at the university’s dental school, also cheered the result.

“I’m very glad that the anti-Semitic and hateful BDS resolution failed,” he told JNS.

But it didn’t fail at NYU

The student government at New York University passed a BDS resolution, calling on the university to separate its interests from firms such as Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Caterpillar Inc., which do business with Israel.

The final tally, which was conducted by a secret ballot, was 35 votes in favor, 14 against and 14 abstentions. The BDS measure was backed by 51 campus groups and 34 faculty members.

“The passing of BDS at NYU represents a sad shift in anti-Israel sentiment across U.S. college campuses,” Eli Lenner, freshmen class president of the Stern School of Business, told JNS. “BDS is a movement founded by [someone] who doesn’t believe in the right for the existence of a Jewish state. Jewish students at NYU lack proper representation, and because of their lack of a voice, radical movements that are innately anti-Semitic are able to gain traction.”

“Students are being misguided by a movement that operates under the guise of helping oppressed Palestinians, when its real goal is to undermine the rights of the State of Israel to exist,” he added.

Pro-Israel campus groups slammed the resolution and “one-sided” and “discriminatory.”

“It is deeply disappointing that SGA passed a resolution that is so one-sided and discriminatory,” said Ron Krudo, executive director of campus affairs at StandWithUs. “I’m proud of the students who worked so hard to stand up for themselves in the face of a fundamentally undemocratic student government process.”

The university had been subject to criticism after a discriminatory joint statement issued in April by 53 NYU student groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, which declared that the student organizations would boycott two pro-Israel student groups on campus: Realize Israel and TorchPAC.

TorchPAC expressed pessimism even before the final result.

“We have known since before the introduction of this resolution that unfortunately, this process is unfair, and systematically silenced our community and our voices, which enabled the passage of this resolution,” posted the group on Facebook. “At the meeting, falsehoods went unchecked, rules of order were not followed and only seven members of our community were able to speak for approximately two minutes each. We will continue to show support for pro-Israel students on this campus and be a strong voice against hate. Our community is strong and united. This resolution will not change that.”

Realize Israel echoed TorchPAC’s sentiment and posted on Facebook, “As we light the candles of the fifth night of Hanukkah, we remember that there will always be a glimmer of hope and light will always overcome darkness.”

 

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