Students at Columbia University pass resolution supporting BDS movement

Source: israelhayom
New York - The student union at Columbia University in New York voted to hold a referendum to divest from Israel.

As part of the referendum, during the following semester, students will be able to vote on the following proposition: "Must the university divest from companies that profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s acts towards Palestinians that, according to CUAD, fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid acts against Palestinians?"

In a report published in The Algamenier, the proposition was presented by a student group called Columbia University Apartheid Divest, or CUAD, whose purpose is to fight "against the Israeli occupation," which they say is "in line with the United Nations definition of apartheid crimes."

Since 2016, CUAD has called upon Columbia to divest from Israel, but was voted down earlier this year in March and in 2017 as well.

After the vote, supporters of the proposition were heard repeating the chant: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The slogan is said by those who support the creation of a Palestinian state in the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, in place of Israel, and is espoused by some proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and operatives within Hamas, which the US designates as a terrorist organization.

Ofir Dayan, a political science major and head of the student group Students Supporting Israel at Columbia University strongly condemned the move saying, "We will fight the referendum with all our power. Its purpose is clear: to cause Israelis and those who are pro-Israel to feel uncomfortable, but we must not under any circumstances close our eyes."

"First of all, the university's investments are immune [to such actions], and it is unclear who the [school] invests in. In addition, one of the sections includes reaching a full consensus at the university and this will not be achieved," he explained. "Therefore, it is clear that the action is merely symbolic, although the [BDS activists] see it as legitimate. It's important to note that this action was opposed across the political spectrum of the Jewish community, who claimed it to be offensive, anti-Semitic, and overreaching."

In March, the President of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger dismissed the idea of divesting from companies who conduct business with Israel, saying that the university should not make a decision to take action against something unless there is a campus-wide consensus that such an action is wrong.

However, in 2018, a referendum like this one was passed at Barnard College, but was later criticized and rejected by the school's president Sian Leah Beilock.