Monday, April 22, 2013

UC Berkeley's Divestment vote

There has been a great deal of written on last weeks UC Berkeley 11-9  divestment vote, including some excellent commentary from the student newspaper, the Daily Cal:

After divestment

Jason Willick writes about the “ASUC Senate’s deeply misguided vote to divest UC funds from companies affiliated with the Israeli military”, saying 

"I was appalled by the degree of radicalism — and venom — on display at the senate’s marathon meeting last Wednesday, during which divestment advocates took control of the night. Frenzied speakers charged Israel with unspeakable atrocities as their supporters roared. Residents of Israel were smeared as European colonialists. The Holocaust was brushed aside. Some speakers defended terrorism against civilians as legitimate resistance, and the pro-divestment audience appeared to endorse the odious chant — “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — that implicitly negates the Jewish State’s right to exist. Perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me, seeing as the Cal Students for Justice in Palestine website calls for “struggle against the apartheid regime that has consolidated itself” not only in the West Bank or Gaza, but in “1967 Israel.”

 Chancellor Birgeneau issues response to ASUC vote on divestment 

"As you all know, the ASUC is an independent student organization, and its vote in this matter will not change investment policy established by the Regents of the University of California. In addition, it is my personal opinion that targeting a single nation or state in this highly complex world is not appropriate and does little to advance the cause of peace and coexistence."

The divestment dilemma

Students have every right to voice concerns about how the university spends their tuition dollars. But the framing of SB 160, which passed with 11 senators supporting it and nine against it, neglected to fully incorporate important perspectives, thereby alienating many Jewish students on campus and effectively worsening campus climate. The bill’s authors should have engaged in more dialogue with leaders of different communities about how to best represent all students on this subject.

While the bill was noble in its efforts to condemn human rights violations, some of its rhetoric and the resulting marginalization of many Jewish students will ultimately produce more harm than good.


How can you help?

Email President Connor Landgraf TODAY calling on him to veto the bill.  president (at ) .  Let President Landgraf know that the passage of Bill SB160 is alienating and damaging to the climate on campus.

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