Divestment Motion Approved at California State University-Long Beach in ‘Difficult Moment’ for Jewish Students on Campus
A divestment resolution passed at California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) on Wednesday, following the final of three student government (AS) meetings convened to discuss the issue.
Fifteen student senators voted in favor of a motion titled “Socially Responsible Investing: Companies Complacent in and Profiting from Palestinian Oppression,” while seven voted against and one abstained, the Daily 49er campus paper reported.
Student Mustafa Bibi reportedly wore a Palestinian flag as a cape and exclaimed, “I support this resolution because it is the right thing to do as a human being. If you actually believe that Israel ever intends for peace, your entire cognitive development is a disaster, disaster! They are trying to justify genocide!”
CSULB Divest has defended its efforts as “not antisemitic,” because “our resolution was supported by students from different backgrounds including Jewish students and faculty.”
Organizations in the divestment coalition included Jewish Voice for Peace, which honored a convicted Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Jews at its national conference earlier this year; Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, which calls Zionism a form of racism; Stop the Jewish National Fund, which claims the international charity is complicit in “institutionalized racism and apartheid”; and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Organization, which engages in Holocaust minimization. The College Democrats, the Muslim Students Association and the Black Student Union also showed their support for the BDS initiative.
CSULB Divest stated that the anti-Israel motion was one of a package of divestment resolutions, all of which passed, including bills targeting companies that supposedly profit from the private prison industry and oppression of the LGBTQ+ community. The group also separated the resolutions from the worldwide BDS campaign, claiming none of them “call[ed] for boycott or sanctions.”
Rachel Kaplan, the executive director of Long Beach Hillel, described Wednesday’s vote result as a “difficult moment for our campus community.”
Student Tali Shaddaie, the president of 49ers for Israel, told The Algemeiner the BDS campaign included a “lot of lies and false accusations” about the state of Israel, as well as hostility toward Jewish students. She claimed one of her peers was called a terrorist by a divestment activist.
Shaddaie said the vote has left her “deeply disappointed in our student leadership,” but that it also reminded her the pro-Israel community has “to be stronger, to fight harder and to be more united in our efforts.”
Jeff Blutinger, the director of CSULB’s Jewish studies program, told The Algemeiner that though the resolution would have no “actual impact on university policy,” he was “concerned about how this will affect the campus climate, [including] normalization of anti-Zionism and the possibility that this will isolate Jewish students on campus and make them feel unwelcome.”
CSULB President Jane Conoley previously condemned BDS in an open letter, and urged her students to reject the resolution. She was subsequently criticized by activist group Palestine Legal and a number of CSULB faculty for hindering academic freedom and free speech, though in an email to the Daily 49er, Mark Yudof of the Academic Engagement Network — a free speech and anti-BDS group — made clear that there are “no constitutional concerns implicated” with Conoley only airing her perspective.
A BDS attempt at University of California-Santa Barbara failed last night, with zero votes cast in favor of the resolution. The student group behind that effort congratulated CSULB Divest on its success, writing on social media, “We stand with you!” — followed by multiple emojis of raised “resistance” fists.