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March 26, 2014 3:45 pm

Loyola Student Government Again Passes Israel Divestment, But by Smaller Margin

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A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel in Melbourne, Australia, on June 5, 2010. Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons. After four-and-a-half hours of debate, the United Student Government Association (USGA) at Chicago’s Loyola University passed an Israel divestment resolution for the second straight week on Tuesday night. But after the divestment measure introduced by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) passed 26-0 last week, Tuesday’s passage came by a much smaller margin, 12-10 with nine abstentions.

“What is especially telling is that there are nine confirmed members of Students for Justice in Palestine on the USGA board,” Brett Cohen, a Loyola University alumnus and National Campus Program Director with StandWithUs, wrote for The Times of Israel. “Essentially, this means that SJP was only able to convince three senators of their bigoted views, while pro-Israel students valiantly swayed 17 senators to change their votes to no or abstentions.”

“What this shows, is that when actual debate happens and light is shown on the BDS movement, sensible people don’t support it,” Cohen added.

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Emily Briskman, director of the Israel Education Center of Chicago’s Jewish United Fund, noted that Loyola University is not invested in all eight Israel-based companies listed in the divestment resolution, demonstrating “that the purpose of the resolution was not to promote human rights but simply to drag Israel’s name through the mud.”

According to the Jewish United Fund, Talia Sobol, one of the student presenters who spoke in opposition to the resolution Tuesday, said, “The point of this resolution is not to inspire a balanced, rational, or informative debate on the Israel/Palestine issue. No, the point is to frame this issue using the question, ‘Israel is guilty. How should we punish it?'”

Pro-Israel students will now seek for USGA President Pedro Guerrero to veto the resolution. A Guerrero veto could only be overturned by a two-thirds vote, which Cohen wrote is “not likely to succeed.”

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