Learning to Say No

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The University of California Board of Regents' decision to reject student-led divestment resolutions should be commended and replicated.

The University of California Board of Regents should be commended for disregarding a student initiative to divest from companies that do business with Israel. Unfortunately, the university’s stand is unlikely to dissuade further attempts at colleges around the country to take this most counterproductive approach to addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
The University of California Student Association passed two resolutions on Feb. 8, urging the university to divest from several countries, including Israel, the United States and Mexico. 
 
One resolution, as reported by JTA, targeted a number of corporations doing business with Israel for “violating Palestinian human rights.” The other called for divestment from the governments of several countries, including Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia,
 
Israel, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Mexico and the United States.
 
The fact that these resolutions didn’t single out only Israel — which is often the case among the efforts to target Israel — makes them no less nefarious. 
 
The board move comes after seven of the UC schools — including Davis, Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Irvine and Riverside — passed student-driven resolutions. 
 
The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at UCLA called the vote “undoubtedly the largest victory thus far in the campus divestment movement in the United States,” according to Inside Higher Ed, an online site.
 
Those associated with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, known as BDS, have focused much of their energy in recent years on U.S. college campuses. Equally worrisome is that the anti-Israel activities on campus are morphing with alarming frequency into acts of anti-Semitism.
 
Two days after UC Davis passed its divestment resolution at the end of January, two swastikas were painted on the off-campus house of its Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter of the national Jewish fraternity. Members of the fraternity had been involved in opposing the resolution.
 
University officials, including those at local institutions of higher learning, need to make clear that they will not tolerate any efforts to entangle their institutions in boycott and divestment efforts against Israel — or tolerate acts of anti-Semitism.
 
This week, the University of California reaffirmed its longstanding position that it would only consider divesting from a foreign government that the U.S. government has declared guilty of genocide, which, of course, excludes Israel. 
 
As the issue continues to play out on campuses, university officials need to make clear they will not be sucked into this nasty movement, however misguided a group of students may be.
 

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