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November 10, 2022 12:31 pm
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Case Western Reserve University Student Government Endorses BDS

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Illustrative Anti-Israel protestors in Melbourne, Australia, c. 2021. Photo: Matt Hrkac/Wikimedia Commons.

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) of Case Western Reserve University passed a resolution on Wednesday evening endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, drawing an immediate rebuke from president Eric W. Kaler.

The resolution, authored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), accuses Israel of being an apartheid state, unlawfully imprisoning minors, and assassinating dissidents. Charging that the university is “culpable for the oppression of the Palestinian people,” it demands that the university divest from companies that do business with Israel “within two years.”

“The foundation of this resolution is profoundly anti-Israel and antisemitic,” Kaler said on Thursday. “Passing this resolution last night undermines the safety and comfort on our campus of members of the Jewish community. While the resolution calls for disinvestment in a naïve list of companies that they view as oriented to the military or in support of corporate correction prisons, undoubtedly it promotes antisemitism.”

Kaler added that “a vote for this resolution is clearly a vote against Israel and an aggression towards the Jewish members of our community.”

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The BDS movement on campus has been described by Jewish and non-Jewish student leaders as antisemitic for singling Israel out for opprobrium and solely blaming it for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I am incredibly devastated by the result of the vote on the BDS resolution on my college campus. It is not the place of a student government in Cleveland, OH to take sweeping stances on the relations and tensions between two governments,” Case Western University USG assembly speaker Ethan Deemer told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “Our sole priority should be to improve the lives of all students on campus, and unfortunately the feelings of Jewish students have been ignored despite their clear expression. Our campus should be working towards equitable solutions and building bridges, not putting up legislative walls that open the floor for hate.”

Anti-Zionism is becoming one of the “core elements of collegiate life” in America, according to the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism’s annual report on anti-Israel activism on college campuses.

The report also discussed the expulsion of Jewish students from campus groups, a discriminatory practice that is now the subject of an investigation by the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

“Antisemitic vitriol directed at pro-Israel students is deeply unsettling and makes our colleges and universities feel less safe and secure for Jewish students,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in October. “University leaders must learn how to recognize and adequately respond to antisemitism whenever it arises, including when anti-Israel activities cross the line into antisemitic hatred.”

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