This week, University of California Davis student Senate voted on a targeted divestment resolution. The vote was 5 for the resolution, 5 against, with 2 senators abstaining. Though the resolution did not pass, the UC Davis Divestment Campaign was successful in shifting the debate on campus away from the terms set by the opposition, and the fact that the student senate vote resulted in a tie is indicative of the growing momentum and support behind the BDS Movement on campuses. IJAN organizers attended the UC Davis Finance and Business subcommittee hearing earlier in the week (where the resolution did pass)., and it was clear that the room was largely in support of divestment.
Opponents of divestment decried that this bill was connected to the international BDS Movement, that it “singled out” Israel as a perpetrator of human rights abuses, and that Zionist narratives were not represented in the bill itself. All things that our movement can and should stand proudly on: Yes, we are part of an international movement for BDS against the State of Israel; Yes, we focus on Israel because of its on-going, brutal crimes against the Palestinian people including settler colonialism, occupation and apartheid; Yes, a bill intended to stop funds following into these crimes does not include the perspectives of those who support the perpetrator. They relied on racist anti-Arab anti-Muslim rhetoric and the claim that divestment from the Israeli Apartheid state “makes Jews on campuses feel marginalized,” – a claim which was challenged by Jewish students at Davis.
The opposition’s focus on the “civility” of the debate implied that expressing outrage at Israeli human rights abuses as well as the racist rhetoric being used in the room was “inappropriate.” We, however, feel that it is very appropriate to denounce, in the strongest way possible, Israel’s crimes.