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May 18, 2022 2:07 pm

Louisiana State University Student Divestment Bill Takes Aim at Israeli Academic Partners

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo: Davidpinter / Wikimedia Commons

The student government of Louisiana State University (LSU) unanimously passed a divestment bill during its final session of the year that singled out several of the school’s Israeli academic partners, a campus newspaper reported on Monday.

The resolution — approved with 36 votes in favor, none against, and ten abstentions, out of a senate roster of 78 students — called on LSU to “divest its stocks, funds, and endowments from companies and institutions that profit from or engage in human rights violations in US prisons, at the US Mexico Border, in Occupied Palestine, and environmentally.”

The measure specifically named only Israeli institutions — including Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, the Israeli Institute of Technology, and the Geological Survey of Israel, as specific targets — The Daily Reveille noted. All are partners of the LSU’s College of Engineering through the US-Israel Energy Center, a $27 million research program led by the US Department of Energy and the Israeli Ministry of Energy.

An author of the resolution — which was initiated by school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter and the group Cooperation Rouge — told the campus paper that it was inspired by the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and subsequently broadened to draw wider appeal.

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“We first thought of how we can incorporate and support an effort to divest, which is a common strategy by oppressed groups,” the author told the Reveille. “A lot of people don’t have a connection specifically to Palestine and a lot of people want something that in some way incorporates them.”

The BDS campaign opposes Zionism and rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, seeking to isolate the country with economic, political, academic and cultural boycotts.

On Tuesday, LSU Tigers for Israel (TFI), a pro-Israel group on campus, told The Algemeiner that the student government “elected to exclude the minute  Jewish population from its radar, through this disgusting bill.”

“As one of the smallest minorities on campus, the student government neglects us, and we are never included in their push for ‘diversity and cultural inclusivity,'” said TFI President Claire Neal.

“The student body did not receive meeting minutes published for the sessions that discuss these bills, the arguments, and counterarguments, and why they passed with little actual research,” she added. “How does this represent the students of LSU if we do not even know this is happening?”

Louisiana State University did not respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

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