In last night’s Associated Students Senate meeting, representatives from American Students for Israel and Students for Justice in Palestine appeared in public forum to discuss the Associated Students of UC Irvine’s recent legislation divesting itself from companies who support Israeli government measures.
While American Students for Israel urged senators to remain neutral on the issue, Students for Justice in Palestine encouraged similar action to that of UC Irvine. On Nov.
13, 2012, UC Irvine’s A.S. unanimously passed legislation that would divest from a handful of companies that they believe support human rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli government. The Request for Action cites the students’ history of “standing against oppression and injustice” and targets companies that have been documented by several human rights organizations as being complicit to “ongoing” violations.
According to the legislation, the construc- tion company Caterpillar has played a role in furthering human rights violations by supply- ing the Israeli government with the weaponry to do so. “[Caterpillar] has helped sustain the occupation [in Palestine] by providing engineering tools and bulldozers to destroy Palestinian houses, neighborhoods (in refugee camps), agriculture and water cisterns,” the legislation states. “[The company has provided] engineering tools and bulldozers to expand illegal settlements and construct the Wall and checkpoints.”
Other such targeted companies include Cement Roadstones Holding, Cemex, General Electric Company, Hewlett-Packard Company, Raytheon and Sodastream.
The UC Irvine A.S. bill also states that it will further examine its assets and UC assets for investments in companies that provide military support and weaponry to support occupation of the Palestinian territory and promises to slow down or stop the contractions of dividing walls.
Jeremy Ely, executive director of UCSB American Students for Israel, brought UC Irvine’s decision to the attention of the Senate, stat- ing that this legislation poorly affects the university’s Jewish students.
“This event has shaken UCSB’s Jewish population,” Ely said. “[I] want to see any such measures brought upon by the [UCSB Associated Students] Senate.”
Ely added that such partisan issues hold no place in the policymaking of the supposedly neutral A.S.
“It doesn’t affect a large portion of the student body so it shouldn’t come up in A.S.,” Ely said. “It would just cause [certain] students dis- comfort.”
Officer Hani Tajsar first wanted to ensure that the motivations behind his requests were not misunderstood, maintaining that his inten- tions were tied to religious intolerance — that he was condemning the actions of the Israeli government and not the Israeli people.
“I have always been called anti-Semitic but I’m condemning the state [and] not the people,” Tajsar said. “If someone condemned the state of Iran I would stick with them.”
Adeel Lakhani furthered the argument in favor of action by stating his belief that the Senate was within their rights to take a stand on this issue, as they had done during Apartheid in South Africa.
“A.S. has a history of making statements and of making action to fol- low a moral compass, such as divesting from Apartheid in South Africa,” Lakhani said. “I don’t think this is outside of the Senate’s duties.”
Lakhani proposed that senators do research on their current invest- ments and ensure that they do not support human rights violations.
“Regardless of the contentions or objections that the Senate or UC students might have with the UCI resolution, I urge the UCSB senate to pass a resolution that would direct research into our investments to make sure that student money is not going towards companies that hurt people,” Lakhani said. “Student money should not go to people who hurt other people.”
A version of this article appeared on page 3 of November 15, 2012’s print edition of the Nexus.
a) this is a HORRIBLY written article, with awful grammar, punctuation, multiple misquotes, and a gross error. Jeremy Ely graduated over a year ago–Jeremy Ginsberg spoke at last night’s meeting. Tiana, if you’re going to consider yourself a journalist, however lowly, check your facts and for ****’s sake learn how to write. b) Associated Students on ANY campus has absolutely ZERO business taking a stance on ANYTHING political. The point of AS is to represent ALL students fairly and equally. The minute a political stance is taken that alienates any particular group (in this case, pro-Israel students as well as… Read more »
Is the enrollment of Jewish students significantly lower than the fraction of Californians that are Jewish? As in 6% African Americans at large vs. 2.6% at UCSB? Are there systematic factors that create barriers for Jewish student enrollment? Because that’s what underrepresented means.
I’m not trying to defend the accuracy of this person’s coverage of the event because I wasn’t there, but if you search UCSB’s American Students For Israel, Jeremy Ely is listed as the Executive Director. I’ve attended meetings before and sometimes its hard to catch who is speaking and maybe she just heard a first name or position title and not a last name, so she looked it up lated to make sure. The website doesn’t seem to have been updated since Ely graduated so even if she tried to check who it was and looked it up, she would… Read more »
A new reporter or freshman should not be covering AS Senate meetings. Give them something fluffy to write about where it doesn’t matter if they a) make mistakes and b) suck at writing.
TBL isn’t a good paper by any means, but at least they offer training to their writers and editors.
Both papers on campus have their issues. I think that stems from the nature of each paper. On one hand, the Nexus puts out a huge number of articles that are written by marginal writers. Sometimes people write bad articles. It’s just math. TBL, on the other hand, just doesn’t have enough consistent writers. It’s a double-edged sword. There isn’t a cut and dry staff–TBL is open to anyone who wants to come and write. Being a weekly paper helps cut out what needs to be cut out, but the lack of consistency keeps TBL from being a professional grade… Read more »
So tired of misquotes in the Nexus…..sloppy, inaccurate coverage of events where I had first-hand experience totally obliterates my trust of the Nexus. Also, so tired of people condemning stuff out of anger without actually understanding the thing they are condemning….It’s almost funny how the uproar around UCI’s resolution concentrates on peripheral issues, but none that I’ve seen says the resolution is actually factually incorrect, just that this issue should not be brought up. It’s uncomfortable to hear, and therefore marginalizing, but nothing to say about what the resolution actually says, and whether that’s inaccurate? Read the actual resolution and… Read more »
which quotes were wrong?
While Saudis repress all their people (other than the royal family whom have private $500 million dollar airplanes and the such we should focus on Israel for deep down we are anti-Semites. While Pakistanis ehtnically cleanse that once Hindu country of its remaining Hindus we should focus on Israel for deep down we are anti-Semites. While Egyptians ehtnicall cleanse that country of its ancient Coptic community let us focus on Israel for deep down we are anti-Semites. While Mali Islamists trun Mali into the next Sudan let us focus on Israel instead for deep down we are anti-Semites. While Yemenis… Read more »
Who granted the student senate such power to negotiate business contracts? Palestinians sure love drama, over 400 killed in Syria and didn’t hear one peep from the pro-Palestinian creeps.