By Mikaela Tenner
Last Thursday, Senate Resolution #20 was introduced to ASUCD Senate, yet again bringing unwanted conflict onto campus. Introduced to Davis for the first time last spring, this resolution is commonly known around campus as “Divestment,” calling for the regents of the University of California to stop investing in Israeli products. With no specified goal, it is clear that this resolution is a simplified unilateral solution to an overly complicated problem that will do nothing but harm our campus.
This resolution is part of the worldwide Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Founded by Omar Barghouti in 2005, this movement calls for numerous boycotts of different aspects of Israeli life. Although it claims to be focused on economic boycotts, BDS supporters have specifically stated, “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal… justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
This resolution claims to be in response to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory that they have had control of since the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. The resolution states its opposition towards supposed human rights violations against Palestinians, and ignores blatant human rights violations that Palestine itself commits.
The resolution cites unequal treatment and home demolition as violations of Palestinian civil rights. However in Palestine, honor killings, forced sterilization, and public executions of gays and converts from Islam are permitted. Further, with its liberal social policies, Israel has become a haven for gays and other minority groups in the Middle East who are forced to flee Arab countries in fear of persecution. It is clear that the specific details of this lengthy conflict are far from the scope of the regents of the University of California.
Not only is this situation far out of the business of the University of California, but it is entirely unilateral. As our collective representative body, it is the duty of ASUCD to pass bills that are the will of the student body at large. Although Davis does have a group of students who support this resolution, there are still a large amount of students on campus who are profoundly opposed to it. We simply cannot allow the passage of a one-sided resolution that does not represent our student body as a whole.
Further, this resolution goes completely against the Principles of Community that UC Davis defines in their mission. Our first principle states, “We confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs….”
The idea of this resolution is not only discrimination against Israel, but against Judaism as a whole. Supporters of this resolution often claim that this is not in fact anti-Jewish, just anti-Israel. However, they fail to recognize that for most Jewish students, Zionism is an integral part of their Jewish identity.
Claiming that this resolution is opposition to the people, simply to it being a Jewish state is in itself anti-Semitic. With 10% of our 33,000 students being Jewish, the University of California, Davis simply cannot support this type of blatant discrimination against a large portion of its student body.
The Principles of Community continue to state, “We recognize that each of us has an obligation to the community of which we have chosen to be a part. We will strive to build a true community of spirit and purpose based on mutual respect and caring.”
When a specific group on campus is being attacked, we no longer have a caring, mutually respecting environment on campus. Dialogue between two groups is acceptable, but when one group is forced into a defensive position, that is in no way a two-sided discussion. Further, mutual respect and caring are key to a conducive learning environment. When Israeli students are forced to defend their country, they are no longer able to fully and effectively receive the education that we are all here for.
In order to ensure the mutual respect and caring that are necessarily for our university, this resolution needs to be rejected.
Senate Resolution #20 is bad for our campus and bad for peace in the Middle East. As a unilateral solution to an overly complex problem, it will do nothing but divide our students. Our ASUCD should undoubtedly reject this resolution so that they can continue to stand for our student body as a whole.
I am an Aggie, and I am pro-peace and anti-Divestment.