Riverside defeats divestment. UCLA and SDSU are next
February 13, 2014
StandWithUs congratulates the pro-Israel students at UC Riverside for their successful stand against the BDS movement, which uses propaganda and progressive rhetoric to promote a malicious, immoral, and illiberal agenda. Last night (2/12/14) the UC Riverside student government debated a divestment resolution presented by Students for Justice in Palestine and a pro-peace resolution presented by Highlanders for Israel. This debate was the culmination of months of lobbying by both sides. The result was a defeat for divestment and the larger boycott movement against Israel.
Ben Morag (StandWithUs Emerson Fellow) and other students worked for months in advance, lobbying and preparing for the debate. The debate itself was less heated than some we have witnessed at other universities. The accusations made against Israel were slanderous, misleading, or taken completely out of context, but they were nothing compared to those heard at UC Berkeley ("the IDF violates Palestinian women with rats") and UC Santa Barbara ("Israel deliberately sterilizes Ethiopian women").
Pro-Israel Riverside students did their best to refute accusations of the divestment resolution and expose the agenda of the BDS movement. They also presented their pro-peace resolution as a truly progressive alternative, which would promote peace, justice, and human rights for both sides. The end result was that the Senate voted no on divestment -- seven against, six in favor, and one abstention, and then it voted to table the pro-peace bill in order to fix some mistakes and perhaps work toward something even more inclusive.
One of the reasons divestment did not pass was because senators did not want to be associated with the larger BDS movement, which calls for the elimination of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. Some also commented that they were not sure the opinions of the more than 50 people in the room were truly representative of the entire Riverside student body, which numbers over 20,000.
This outcome was made possible by the passion and dedication of pro-Israel students at UC Riverside. StandWithUs salutes them for standing on the right side of history, and we look forward to seeing many students at other universities follow their example.
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