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February 12, 2017 8:21 am

Anti-Israel Divestment Campaigns Kick Off on Campuses Across the US

avatar by Lea Speyer

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Campaign poster for University of Michigan-Dearborn SJP divestment campaign. Photo: UMD SJP/Facebook.

Campaign poster for University of Michigan-Dearborn SJP divestment campaign. Photo: UMD SJP/Facebook.

Student groups across the US are renewing their efforts to pass anti-Israel divestment resolutions.

Following a defeat two years ago, a coalition of student groups at Ohio State University (OSU) — under the auspices of “OSU Divest: Buckeyes for Human Rights” — is seeking to put the issue to a vote in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) in the spring. 

The OSU Divest measure calls on the student government to “cease and/or prohibit any investments in G4S, Caterpillar, CoreCivic, The GEO Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise until they are no longer engaged in the violation of human rights [of Palestinians] and other practices deemed unethical by the Buckeye community.”

The group is currently attempting to gather the 1,895 signatures needed from the student body to secure the measure on the USG ballot, the campus newspaper The Lantern reported.

At the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, groups such as the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), are pushing to place an anti-Israel bill on the Student Government (SG) ballot next month. The measure demands that the USF Foundation divest from “companies complicit in human rights violations in Palestine and Yemen.”

According to campus newspaper The Oracle, a similar divestment measure that only singled out Israel for condemnation was shot down last spring by the SG Supreme Court after it was deemed unconstitutional. A proposal of the same nature also failed in 2013. A university spokesman told The Oracle that even if the upcoming measure reaches the ballot, it is non-binding.

At the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UMD), groups such as the campus chapters of SJP, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Arab Student Union launched a petition against “investments in entities complicit in human rights violations by the state of Israel.”

UMD SJP wrote on Facebook:

Under Israeli occupation, Palestinians and Israeli settlers are separate and unequal. Palestinians are denied their fundamental rights under Israeli martial law, and are being forced out of their homes to make way for Israeli-only settlements. Michigan invests in companies complicit in this. It’s time to divest. This year or the next, in one year or 10, we will divest. 

At the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), 15 student organizations launched a campaign to pressure the school’s Board of Trustees to divest from companies “that support the marginalization of Palestinians.” In a video posted to social media of an event kicking off the BDS campaign, a sponsor of the initiative is seen describing Zionists as “murderers,” accusing Israel of “genocide” and mocking Jews’ claims to Israel as “their birthright” as being “built on empty religious rhetoric.”

Students at Georgetown University, as reported by The Algemeiner, are refusing to stand down from their demand that school officials first disclose and then halt investments in companies that contribute to the “illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

Coalition group “Georgetown University Forming a Radically Ethical Endowment Coalition (GU F.R.E.E.)” — endorsed by 17 student organizations — named nine companies that are “knowingly and consistently” complicit in Israeli “human rights violations” against “indigenous” Palestinians, such as “collective punishment,” “forcible displacement” and “occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.”

The recent push for anti-Israel student government referendums coincides with the start of Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual BDS event held on college campuses around the world in February and March.

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  • BooBooBaby

    I cannot and won’t take petitions from Colleges seriously. Because, most College students are Brainwashed by lying liberal Professors, College students are under major peer pressure, and College students are always walking around to pressure other College kids into signing their petitions, NO matter what! Most of the students are in a hurry and get bullied into signing many of these petitions also!

  • tiki

    The “success” of these BDS Hate Israel weeks is phenomenal.

    The number of Palestinians helped by their actions is “breathtaking”!

    The success of Israel’s economy on the other hand is recognized by all world financial bodies that matter.

  • Bert

    The American Jewish establishment and the Israeli government are to blame for allowing this situation to develop and grow to this level. Jewish leaders have consistently failed to tell the truth about Jewish rights to the entire land of Israel. This failure also violates the biblical admonition to NOT divide the land. Most of our Jewish leaders are secular and do not take the Torah seriously. From biblical times Jewish leaders have failed to obey the Torah and the Jewish people have paid a terrible price. Today our Jewish leaders are still failing to claim our right to the land that G-d gave to us.

    • Lin Olson


  • Hard Little Machine

    This year will be different. There will be violence