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September 22, 2020 9:45 am

Student Government at University of Illinois-Urbana to Vote on BDS Resolution

avatar by Jackson Richman / JNS.org

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – The student government of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is scheduled to vote on a resolution on Wednesday that in part calls on the university to divest from Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar Inc. and Elbit Systems Ltd. for what the resolution alleges is partaking in human rights violations in the Palestinian territories.

The resolution, obtained by JNS, alleges that Israel-based Elbit Systems is a “main supplier of surveillance technology for the separation wall in the occupied West Bank, a wall the International Court of Justice has called a violation of human rights.”

It also accuses Northrop Grumman for providing “weapons guidance system and missiles used in attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza … ”

Additionally, the resolution alleges that “Raytheon weaponry has been used against Palestinian and Yemeni civilians in incidents that have been condemned by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations as war crimes …” and “co-developed with IMI Systems guided mortars that killed 20 civilians outside of an [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] school in Jabaliya, Gaza, which was being used as a shelter during ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in 2014.”

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It further points to Lockheed Martin of providing “the Israeli military with various weapons systems that targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure, including medics, ambulances, UN shelters, on numerous occasions in Gaza and Southern Lebanon.”

Moreover, the resolution mentions that Caterpillar “has been warned by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights about its sales to the IDF, pointing to their use of demolishing Palestinian villages, actions deemed internationally illegal by the UN Security Council Resolution 2334 in 2016.”

The resolution claims that “Caterpillar Inc. provides Caterpillar Israel with armored excavators and D9 bulldozers used in urban areas to destroy civilian infrastructure such as Palestinian homes, refugee camps, water cisterns, agricultural fields and build illegal Israeli settlements … ”

It accuses Caterpillar Inc. of “play[ing] a role in erasing the indigenous character of Palestine by clearing thousands of acres of biodiverse native habitat replacing them with non-native forests” and “aid[ing] in the massive ethnic cleansing of 40,000-70,000 of the Bedouin living in the Negev region of southern Israel. It is building parks over the ruins of Bedouin villages that would only be accessible to nearby Jewish settlements.”

Finally, the resolution calls for “one student representative from Students for Justice in Palestine” to be part of a task force that would be created by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign chancellor Robert Jones “charged with divesting from corporations and index funds that violate human rights and reinvest in socially and environmentally responsible companies and index funds.”

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign did not respond to a request for comment regarding the upcoming vote.

Pro-Israel groups slammed the upcoming vote.

“In reality, student BDS resolutions carry absolutely no weight; universities will take zero action regardless of the outcome of the votes,” AMCHA Initiative Co-Founder and Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin told JNS. “The concern here is that there is a direct connection between these resolutions and the antisemitic incidents, including assaults, harassment and vandalism, that will surely follow. Many student governments have begun to see through the BDS charade and call it out for their respective student bodies.”

“BDS is an antisemitic movement and those who support it must understand that Jew-haters have found an effective and seemingly civil method to do what has been done to Jews historically: demonize and delegitimize in order to eliminate,” Club Z Executive Director Masha Merkulova told JNS.

She added that the University of Illinois has become a safe haven “for this vile Jew-hating movement,” and that “it is not surprising as one of the major epicenters of Jew-hatred in America today is found in our universities.”

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