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November 9, 2017 10:57 am

After 10 Failures, University of Michigan Activists Launch Another Divestment Campaign Against Israel

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The “separation wall” erected by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan. Photo: SAFE.

Anti-Israel activists at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor recently launched a campaign to convince the school to divest from Israel — a proposal the student body has rejected 10 times since 2002.

Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) announced last week that it was beginning “the 2017 #UMDivest campaign,” which calls for the university’s Central Student Government (CSG) “to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.”

The companies — according to a SAFE petition that accuses Israel of implementing an “apartheid system” — include “Boeing, HP, United Technologies, G4S, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Co, Exxon Mobil, BAE Systems, Dexia, and Toyota.”

The group quickly began promoting their campaign on campus, including erecting a “separation wall” last Wednesday that featured maps showing purported Palestinian land loss since 1946. The maps — widely shared by anti-Israel activists — have been frequently criticized for containing multiple inaccuracies.

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Members of SAFE and a large crowd of their supporters also convened on Tuesday to rally in favor of divestment, where they were met with a number of counter-protesters.

SAFE’s divestment resolution failed to pass last November by a vote of 34 to 13, the closest margin achieved by a divestment resolution at CSG, The Michigan Daily student newspaper reported. In March, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s student government passed a resolution to “divest from ethically reprehensible companies that violate Palestinian rights.”

SAFE’s latest resolution was submitted on Sunday and will be voted on by CSG next Tuesday.

Tilly Shames, executive director U-M’s Hillel, told The Algemeiner that the Jewish and pro-Israel community planned to confront this year’s SAFE initiative much as it has in the past.

“It is important that students share the many concerns they have with these resolutions, including that they disenfranchise students on campus with deep relationships to Israel, they further divide the campus, and they put the blame for a complicated conflict on one side alone,” Shames said.

“We also stress these efforts ignore all of the rejected efforts to achieve peace and are a part of a broader [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement that vilifies Israel,” the director added. “We support our students to bring these concerns forward, in a campus-wide petition, articles, speeches, and conversations.

She also cautioned against equating the defeat of divestment resolutions with victory, noting that “when these resolutions appear, nobody wins, as all students feel a deep divide and hurt by their peers.”

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