Divestment vote fails at Stanford University

Editor’s Note:  After an anti-Israel divestment resolution before Stanford University’s student government failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote, thus failing, the pro-Israel advocacy group, StandWithUs, issued the following commentary:

stanford-university-logoLOS ANGELES (Press Release) —  StandWithUs congratulated Stanford’s student government for defeating an anti-Israel divestment resolution on February 10. The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) voted 9 in favor, 5 against, and 1 abstaining on a resolution calling for divestment from companies doing business with Israel. The resolution failed because it required a two-thirds majority vote to pass. While this represents yet another defeat for the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, we are disturbed by the hate speech and slander against Israel that occurred during the ASSU meeting, and by the extent to which divestment activists misled their fellow students about the damaging impact of the resolution.

Slanderous accusations of “genocide” and “starvation” including by a Stanford Professor recalled blood libels that led to violence against Jews during the Middle Ages. Furthermore, a student senator made dehumanizing remarks about Jewish and pro-Israel students who opposed divestment, comparing them to the sons of oil magnates seeking to protect their financial interests.

These offensive analogies are an attempt to dismiss the entirely legitimate objections to divestment that many Jewish and pro-Israel students bring to the table. Divestment promotes misinformation, disregards Israeli lives, and contributes to the anti-peace, anti-justice agenda of the global BDS Movement. BDS uses the rhetoric of social justice and human rights to mask its ultimate goal – the elimination of Israel and the violation of Jewish rights to self-determination.

Interestingly, Stanford divestment organizers insisted that their campaign is separate from BDS, because they realize they would fail overwhelmingly otherwise. The fact that even strong supporters are being forced to disassociate themselves underscores how toxic and immoral BDS truly is. That being said, institutional leaders must understand that there is no separation between divestment and BDS. Divestment pushes the BDS agenda forward regardless of what activists claim during their lobbying efforts. We believe many Stanford students have been misled by this false distinction.

Finally and most importantly, StandWithUs congratulates the Jewish and pro-Israel community at Stanford, including Stanford Hillel, for their tireless efforts to oppose BDS. The Coalition for Peace that they created is doing inspiring work in support of Israel, as well as peace and justice for all peoples in the region.

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