UC students vote to divest from Israel, U.S.
The UC Student Association voted last Sunday to divest from the United States and from companies that do business in Israel.
One resolution proposed by Rebecca Ora, the external vice president of UC Santa Cruz Graduate Student Association, pushed divestment from the United States because of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, as well as disproportionate imprisonment of racial minorities.
"This might sound really harsh, but I really want us in the audience to check our privilege because I feel like what I saw this morning really reflects economic inequities. Just the ability to mobilize so many students with T-shirts and banners."
The other resolution called for divesting from companies that do business in Israel and was introduced by Students for Justice in Palestine last November.
The resolutions passed overwhelmingly by margins of 11-1-3 and 9-1-6, respectively.
“This might sound really harsh, but I really want us in the audience to check our privilege because I feel like what I saw this morning really reflects economic inequities. Just the ability to mobilize so many students with T-shirts and banners. I wish there was equal representation, and I wonder how much that reflects across these oceans,” UC Berkeley graduate representative Imam Sylvain said during the meeting.
UC Berkeley Undergraduate Representative Ori Herschmann echoed Baral arguing that, “[i]f you are a true human rights activist, that’s great, if you truly believe in helping people around the world, that’s a great value, but why do we keep singling out Israel? I didn’t join student government to be model U.N. I joined student government to help students.”
Herschmann also told Campus Reform that while he doesn’t believe BDS itself to be anti-Semitic, he claims BDS allows for “anti-Semitism sentiments.”
According to Matthew Cummings, a Doctor of Pharmacy candidate from UC San Francisco (UCSF), the only UC campus not to have an undergraduate school, the resolution made UCSF student leaders “feel that this was a vote of ideology and passion, not based in sound reasoning or fact. No such information was provided, and certainly not attested to by experts.”
“When we start hearing about divestment from governments including the United States of America because of some ideological differences in how our government conducts its military (which, let's be honest, is usually used to end discrimination and subjugation), it is clear that the resolution failed in its intention,” Cummings told Campus Reform.
The resolution is only a recommendation for the Board of Regents, the University of California system’s governing body, to take action. The University of California maintains that it will only divest from countries that the United States legally classifies as having committed genocide, notes the Daily Bruin.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @gabnadales