Our story so far:
The University of Pennsylvania is hosting a BDS conference. Well, 15 students out of 21,000 have formed a club, and they are hosting the conference. The University has already formally distanced itself from the event and issued a statement
"This is not an event sponsored by the University. The event is being sponsored by a registered student group, as is permitted of any student group on campus.
The University of Pennsylvania has clearly stated on numerous occasions that it does not support sanctions or boycotts against Israel. Indeed, Penn has important and successful scholarly collaborations with Israeli institutions that touch on many areas of our academic enterprise."
The Campus Hillel applauded President Gutmann's statement, declaring
"...we welcome the university’s statement distancing itself from the conference and affirming its strong rejection of boycott, divestment or sanction of Israel.
Penn Hillel is working assertively with the university to assure that the conference does not create a hostile or unsafe environment for the free exchange of ideas and for students to be openly pro-Israel.
Penn Hillel staff and student leaders are using this situation as an opportunity to educate students about Israel, inform them about the reality of the BDS campaign, and expand the coalition of Israel’s friends at Penn among both Jews and non-Jews."
The purpose of the conference? To "build momentum" . The conference seeks to beat the proverbial dead BDS horse, and to revive and energize a tactic that has been failing for over ten years.
Our friend Jon has set up a very special website PennBds-oy to address the UPenn agenda. Check out PennBDS-oy to learn more about:
PennBDS Back to the Basics in Palestine: Time for Unity, Synergy and Mobilization
PennBDS Successes, Challenges, and Options for 2012
PennBDS and the LGBT Community: Pinkwashing Apartheid
PennBDS: BDS Mind, Beginner’s Mind
PennBDS: BDS and Community
PennBDS – The Zionist Response
PennBDS – Hillel and Questions of JVP
And of course, the perennial favorite PennBDS: Hamsphire Conference Planning Transcript
New articles are added regularly
The BDS'ers regard this attention as a sign of their impending victory. Its all about the buzz after all. My prediction: When all is said and done ,the final press release/op eds and tweets will invariably state "UPenn students endorse divestment"