BDS Groups at Stanford Hatching ‘Big Plans’ Against Israel Despite Opposition From Student Majority
Despite a significant majority of the student body at Stanford University opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, anti-Israel student groups are reportedly intending to renew efforts to push through a failed divestment referendum, the Stanford Review reported.
Anti-Israel student organizations Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine (SOOP) plan to force the issue to a re-vote. The original referendum was shot down in February 2015 by the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) and then, days later, passed after a student senator changed her vote following a closed-door meeting with SOOP. The Stanford administration eventually vetoed the highly contentious BDS bill.
Sources from SJP told the Review on condition of anonymity about their concern that the move is part of “big plans” being formulated against Israel for the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
According to a poll conducted by the student newspaper — among freshmen, sophomores and juniors — 70 percent of the school’s students oppose the international anti-Israel movement. When broken down, 65 percent of freshmen, 72 percent of sophomores and 73 percent of juniors oppose sanctions and boycotts against Israel.
Using unique identifiers, the Review was able to block multiple votes from being cast by each voter. The newspaper noted that “over 90 percent of those people who tried to vote more than once were voting ‘yes’ in support of BDS.”
SJP and SOOP will face significant pressure against pushing their agenda forward, the Review reported, “given the divisiveness it caused in 2015, the accusation of antisemitism levied against past ASSU Senators, the increasing skepticism towards anti-Israel university movements across the Atlantic, and the fact the administration has already rejected divestment once.”
One student senator told the paper that “SJP would have to be raving lunatics to bring this issue to the Senate.” He called out the anti-Israel group for distracting the governing student body from more important issues, such as sexual violence prevention. “If it [the BDS referendum] is going to fail, why pursue it?” he questioned.
According to campus antisemitism watchdog group the AMCHA Initiative, between 2012 and 2016, there have been 89 divestment votes recorded across American college campuses.