San Francisco State University passes BDS resolution against Israel

The student government at San Francisco State University passed a boycott and divestment resolution aimed at urging the university to stop doing business with companies that work with Israel.

One Jewish leader said the resolution caused some "ugly discourse" within the campus community.

In a 17-1 vote, the San Francisco State University Student Government voted to pass a resolution calling for the university to sever ties with any company that does business with Israel. 

The resolution was mainly led and promoted by the school’s General Union of Palestinian Students, the arm of an international establishment from the Palestinian Liberation Organization. 

[RELATED: Columbia president promptly shuts down student-passed Israel BDS referendum]

The “Resolution in Support of Divestment from Human Rights Violations” was approved November 18 and associates the decision for the divestment resolution as symmetrical with those of the United Nations, which has claimed war crimes by Israel.

The document states that divestment from said companies would result in “support for human rights violations,” and specifically calls for the San Francisco State Foundation, and others accompanied with the school to “withdrawal [sic] investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in all corporations that are complicit in violating these criteria.”

[RELATED: CSUN professor runs ‘Boycott Israel Resource Page’ on university website]

The approved resolution  does not specifically list any companies, but instead refers to a

”database of companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.” The Jerusalem Post reported that list includes companies like Airbnb, General Mills, and Expedia”

San Francisco Hillel Director Rachel Nilston Ralston told The Jerusalem Post that the resolution is having a negative impact on the campus community.

“But BDS’s real danger is that it seeks to influence the open hearts and minds of tomorrow’s leaders from a one-sided, deeply biased narrative against Israel,” Nilston said.

Students Supporting Israel founder and president Ilan Sinelnikov told Campus Reform that the group strongly opposes the BDS movement and calls it unacceptable.

“Since the establishment of our organization,  [the] SSI movement has been fighting BDS and any person who calls for the boycott of the State of Israel. BDS is an antisemetic movement at its core. From the founder of BDS to the activists on campus calling on the boycott of the only Jewish state in the world is not acceptable,” Sinelnikov said.

Sinelnikov also said that San Francisco State University and its students are “known for its basic misunderstanding of the situation in the Middle East and by voting on BDS the student government showed their ignorance once again.” 

San Francisco Hillel Executive Director Rachel Nilson Ralston told Campus Reform that her comment on “ugly discourse” in the Jerusalem Post article referred to the “hateful and untrue statements made by students and members of the public, during the multiple student government committee and board meetings as they weighed the divestment resolution.” 

Ralston also sent Campus Reform a letter from San Francisco State University President Lynn Mahoney in which she said that she will not support the resolution. 

Ralston added, “We appreciate Dr. Mahoney’s nuanced framing of the issues, which helps our diverse Jewish student community feel heard and included. We also welcome Dr. Mahoney’s strong vision for the future of SF State that affirms our students’ right to a safe learning environment, where marginalization and bullying are condemned, where we have courageous conversations and respectful disagreement.” 

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