Tuesday, February 16, 2016

University of Illinois at Chicago votes to divest from Chicago?

On Monday night, February 15, 2016, the student council at the University of Illinois, Chicago unanimously passed a divestment resolution requesting that the University of Illinois at Chicago Board of Trustees divest from companies profiting from human rights abuses and violations of international law including in but not limited to Palestine, Syria, China, United Kingdom, US-Mexico border, and Chicago.

The resolution was endorsed by a coalition of student groups including

Students for Justice in Palestine.
Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago 
Students for the Advancement of Freedom, Equality & Human Rights 
United Students Against Sweatshops 
Black Student Union 
Fearless Undocumented Alliance 
Mexican Students de Aztlan 
Pakistani Student Organization 
Union for Puerto Rican Students 
Political Science Student Union
Hindu Student Council 
United Muslim Relief 
Amnesty International 
Muslim Student Association .
Palestine Children's Relief Fund 
Powerlifting and Body Building 
MEDLife .
Arab American Association of Engineers and Architects 
Delta Epsilon Mu-Psi Fraternity 
Delta Xi Phi Sorority 
Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement 
Quality Rights Chicago 
Feminists United

The resolution that passed replaced a BDS resolution focusing solely on Israel.

That didn't keep JVP's Liza Behrendt from doing a victory dance

From Legal Insurrection

But passage of the resolution isn’t the real story. The real story is that the resolution that passed did not single out Israel, and applied to any and all alleged human rights abuses anywhere in the world, specifically also mentioning the United States, China, Britain and other countries. As such, the watered-down resolution amounted to a universal statement of principles, not a condemnation of Israel....

They wanted Israel singled out, demonized and dehumanized. But that effort was recognized as discriminatory, and SJP was compelled to negotiate a watered-down, generalized statement which included Israel, but other countries and even the City of Chicago.

Considering that the deck was stacked against Israel, this has to be viewed as a victory and may serve as a model for opposing BDS at similar campuses where an outright defeat of any anti-Israel resolution is unlikely.

The divestment effort at UIC was purely symbolic. Student government, and indeed the administration, have no control over University investment strategy.

Nonetheless, symbolism matters. As demonstrated, anti-Israel activists declare victory even when they outright or effectively lose. And so long as they can single out and demonize Israel, they consider the effort worth it.

The Achilles Heel of the campus BDS movement is that they refuse to live by their own rules. If they believe in intersectionality, then they equally have to boycott their own universities and country.  They either have to expand their resolutions to the point of absurdity, or they have to be revealed for what they really are.

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1 comment:

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

well it's important to remember that a student council resolution is even more useless then a UN resolution. there are student councils and then there are the adults who actually make decisions and set policy for a university. it's like the difference between just playing house with your play sets and dolls and actually doing the cooking and cleaning and paying of bills.