This week students at the University of California Santa Barbara defeated a BDS resolution for the 3rd year in a row. The debate featured the divisive and shocking rhetoric we've come to associate with the BDS movement. In a effort to further marginalize Jewish voices on campus, the debate was scheduled for Yom Hashoah.
Margaux Gundzik, a student at UCSB has written to the school run newspaper "The Bottom line", highlighting the rotten core at the very heart of the BDS movement.
After eight hours of public forum, 12 senators voted to pass the resolution, 12 voted not to pass it, and one abstained. It was only due to the chair’s tie-breaking vote that the resolution did not pass. Despite the end result, I do not consider last night’s meeting a victory. I am disturbed that half of my student representatives felt it right to pass a resolution that countless Jewish students vocalized as being offensive, threatening, and blatantly anti-Semitic.
Margaux calls out BDS for what it is- a movement that denies the Jewish people the right to self determination
Because of its linkage to BDS as well as its denial of the Jewish race’s right to self-determination, I—as a Jewish student—was threatened by the resolution, as were many members of the Jewish community. We attended last night’s senate meeting and spoke at public forum, begging our senators not to pass this resolution that perpetuated hate towards our specific minority group. Similarly, many students in favor of the resolution attended the meeting to oppose my community and press for the passing of this resolution.
Margaux documents the a repugnant rhetoric at the hearing that clearly crossed the line into anti-Semitism
Furthermore, I am disgusted by the normalization of anti-Semitic language so casually thrown around at the meeting. In those eight hours, I was told that Jews control the government, that all Jews are rich, that Zionism is racism, that the marginalization of Jewish students is justified because it prevents the marginalization of other minority groups, that Israel sterilizes its Ethiopian women (this is obviously not true), and that Palestinians in America who speak out against Israel are sought out by the IDF and denied entrance into Israel (also a ridiculous conspiracy theory). I heard a senator—someone who is supposed to be my representative—say that people were only voting against this resolution because they were afraid of losing “Jew support.” I heard my peers laugh at the mention of terrorists hurling stones at the heads of Israeli civilians intending to kill them. I saw students smile and cheer enthusiastically as a woman stood up and said the words, “I am ashamed to be a Jew.” The rhetoric I heard from students opposing Israel at this meeting could easily be equated to arguments that I have only seen in quotes at museums or mentioned in textbooks for their use in the justification of historical persecution of the Jewish race.
Read Margaux Gundzik's letter in its entirety here.
The Campus divestment movement - the effort by anti-Israel activists to steamroll toothless BDS resolution through their school government. has long been characterized by a willingness to abandon truth and to sacrifice campus climate to achieve their political goal. The UCSB Gauchos United for Israel have done a remarkable job of speaking truth to power under very challenging circumstances.