In a move stunning for both its inherent bigotry and its high level of moron quotient, the Student Senate at UC Berkeley voted for a bill calling for divestment from two companies because of Israel.
All quotes below are taken from the press release.
["UC Berkeley Student Senate Passes Divestment Bill in Response to Israeli Occupation"]
The Senate bill directs both the UC Regents and the Student Government to divest from General Electric and United Technologies. General Electric manufactures Apache helicopter engines; United Technologies manufactures Sikorsky helicopters and F-16 aircraft engines.
Student Senator Rahul Patel supported the bill, declaring that “in the 1980s the Student Government was a central actor in demanding that the university divest from South African apartheid. 25 years later, it is a key figure in shaping a nationwide movement against occupation and war crimes around the world. Student Government can be a space to mobilize and make decisions that have a significant impact on the international community. We must utilize these spaces to engage each other about issues of justice worldwide.”
The odious and false comparison with South African Apartheid is rather interesting, given that several other countries actually can be called 'apartheid regimes'..... not only in the Arab world.
Such stellar international players as India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey, for example.
The Senate deliberation, which started Wednesday night, concluded at 3 am Thursday morning, March 18. The meeting was flooded with students, educators, and community members, which prompted the relocation of the Senate session from the Senate Chambers to a larger room. The attendees took turns making impassioned arguments for and against the bill. The diverse list of guest speakers included 76 names, ranging in age from college freshmen to Vietnam veterans.
After amendments, the final bill passed on a 16-4 vote.
In addition to Israeli military action, the student initiative was motivated by an 2005 call on behalf of 171 Palestinian civil society organizations calling on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel … until it fully complies with the precepts of international law."
It would appear that many of the Student Senators are ignorant of international law. This is, of course, in keeping with their loyalties to the 171 Palestinian civil society organizations aforementioned, in addition to the ISM, MECA, and others of a questionable nature. That, besides their being ignorant, they are ethically crippled, goes without saying.
Berkeley is no longer the stellar educational institution it once was.
According to Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, co-author of the bill, “this vote is an historic step in holding all state and corporate actors accountable for their violations of basic human rights. The broad cross section of the community that came out to demand our university invest ethically belies the notion that the American people will tolerate the profiting from occupation or other human rights abuses.” Student Senator Emily Carlton, co-sponsor of the bill, agreed, adding “this action will only be historic if it is repeated throughout the country and the world; I hope that student governments all over America will see in this a sign that the time to divest from war is now.”
Co-authors of the bills were students Tom Pessah (firstname.lastname@example.org, 510.590.7902) and Emiliano Huet-Vaughn (email@example.com, 510.847.6186).
This per the press release that Katherine Fuchs (firstname.lastname@example.org) forwarded on March 18, 2010.
My parents studied at Berkeley, as did their siblings and their friends.
I also went to Berkeley. So did many of my friends.
Berkeley was once a wonderful institution. It is no longer so.
The town itself is notorious for the anti-Semitic atmosphere, the campus is a place where it is not safe to be pro-Israel.
I shall henceforth be cheering for Stanford on game day, and boycotting all things Berkeley.