U Illinois student gov votes to divest from companies with ties to Israel, ICE

The University of Illinois student government passed a resolution to divest from Israel and ICE.

The resolution calls for the university to remove investments from Northrop Grumman and other corporations based on their ties to Israel and ICE.

University of Illinois Student Affairs issued a statement saying they will not be divesting from these companies.

The Illinois Student Government passed a resolution that asks the university to “to withdraw investments with holdings in companies that contribute directly, knowingly, and continuously to severe human rights violations and violations of international law.” The motion calls out specific companies that are associated with Israel as well as with ICE.

The resolution directly mentions Israel as well as other universities that have divested from Israel, stating “...student councils from 47 universities around the country have already voted in favor of adopting a more socially responsible policy, urging their universities to boycott or divest from corporations which are involved in human rights violations as part of the Israeli occupation.”

The referendum specifically targets three companies: Northrop Grumman, Elbit, and Raytheon.

According to the resolution, reasons for divesting from Northrop Grumman include providing ICE and the Department of Homeland security with “advanced surveillance, database, and biometric technology to profile, surveil, and monitor around 500 million unique individuals” and providing Israel with “weapons guidance system and missiles used in attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza.”

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The resolution calls out Elbit for manufacturing “armed UAV military drones,” mentioning various Hermes drones. “The Hermes 450 has been used regularly in Israeli attacks on Gaza, specifically during Operation Cast Lead, where 1398 Palestinians were killed by such drone strikes,” it states.

The resolution also asserts that Elbit “criminalizes” immigrants and border communities. 

”Elbit is the main supplier of surveillance systems to track and criminalize immigrants and border communities along the US-Mexico border,” it says.

The University of Illinois Student Affairs issued a statement rejecting the resolution, saying, “Illinois Student Government (ISG) is an independent organization that can pass non-binding resolutions on any topic it chooses. It provides students the opportunity to engage in discourse on issues such as this one that have been debated around the world for centuries, but does not represent the university administration.”

“ISG resolutions are non-binding, and the university has no plans to act on this one. We are committed to dialogue and to supporting students as they navigate challenging conversations about diversity and inclusion, and we will continue to plan programming designed to build understanding of different perspectives on complex and divisive issues,” the statement continues.

[RELATED: Report: Anti-Israel bias has increased significantly on campuses]

”The divisive BDS resolution that was proposed by Students for Justice in Palestine is a clear attempt to emotionally blackmail student senators and create a hostile environment for Jewish students on our campus,” executive director of Illini Hillel Erez Cohen told Campus Reform

”The resolution refers to Israel 11 times more than any other country mentioned. This is a continued attack on our growing community of Israeli and Jewish students at the University of Illinois. The very same trope has been used in a student-wide referendum twice already and lost twice in a row by a growing margin,” Cohen said. “The Illinois student body is not interested in being manipulated by the BDS movement and I hope the student senators will recognize that and vote no to BDS.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, student group IlliniPAC condemned the resolution, saying, “IlliniPAC believes that BDS resolutions use a hateful and hurtful campus climate, and as such, we are combatting this Resolution in the Student Senate.”

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