UC Irvine student government passes divestment resolution

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A branch of UC Irvine’s student government has passed a resolution urging the UCI administration to divest from companies it alleges profit from human rights violations by supporting Israeli anti-Palestinian policies.

The resolution, which passed Nov. 13, asks UC Irvine to pull out funds from various companies, including Caterpillar, General Electric and Hewlett-Packard. The resolution still needs to be approved by the judicial and executive branches of the Irvine campus’s ASUC, after which it can be presented to the campus administration.

“It wasn’t because they were pro-Israel,” said Sabreen Shalabi, a representative in the campus’s ASUC legislative branch and the author of the resolution. “We were discontent with the fact that our university is investing in companies profiting off of human rights violations.”

The resolution argues that UCI’s investment in the companies is a violation of the university’s values.

“It is the mission of the UCI Foundation to ‘ensure the appropriate use of all funds’ in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy,” the resolution reads.

In the spring of 2010, UC Berkeley’s ASUC Senate passed a resolution urging the UC Board of Regents and the campus administration to divest from companies it alleged had provided war supplies to the Israeli military. The resolution drew international attention, with figures ranging from Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu to prominent philosopher Noam Chomsky weighing in.

Though the Berkeley resolution passed the ASUC Senate, it was ultimately vetoed by then-president Will Smelko. The senate held a vote to override Smelko’s veto, but the move failed after a number of senators who initially supported the bill decided to oppose it.

At Berkeley, the resolution polarized the campus community, said Noah Stern, who opposed the resolution as an ASUC senator when it passed.

“It took several years for different campus communities to recover from the divisiveness of that event,” said Stern, who was ASUC president the following year. “There is no real sense of unanimity around the Israel-Palestine conflict when you actually talk to students on campus.”

Graduate student Tom Pessah, a member of the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine and co-author of the 2010 divestment resolution, said the veto came about because of pressure by nonuniversity organizations, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

“AIPAC representatives … as well as senators who’ve been sent on trips to Israel continue to oppose the passing of such a resolution on our campus, despite students’ strong support for it,” Pessah said.

The UC Irvine administration issued a response to the resolution saying that it is not the policy of the campus nor of the university to divest from a foreign government unless the U.S. government deems it necessary.

According to Shalabi, the Irvine resolution garnered significant support from the student body.

“It was really nice to see students unafraid to stand up against human rights violations,” she said. “I feel like the resolution was very logical — there’s nothing emotional about it.”

Contact Andy Nguyen at [email protected].

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  • Omar Talaat

    At the Al Awda conference a few years back, a strategy was proposed of running candidates that support BDS en mass for student government, as a way of eventually passing a UC divestment resolution. This strategy has clearly paid off.

    “Next up for SJP at SDSU came Lina Othman, head of the group’s outreach
    department. Othman, wearing a hijab, explained how the UC Divestment
    program had developed a campus-wide network in California tailored for
    each campus community. For example, she explained, the climate at UC
    Berkeley might be different than the one at San Diego State when it came
    to divesting from the Jewish state.

    Othman epitomized the use of deception by the divestment movement just as Al Awda uses in giving
    such conferences. Othman told us how SDSU had already three SJP members
    on the Student Council and they were gunning for ten including the
    Student Body Presidency. Once they had control of the campus, she
    explained, they would then institute a campus-wide policy. It was
    bemoaned during this session that an earlier resolution by her campus
    against the genocide in Darfur had made a point of saying that it did
    not include Israel. To get around this, Othman explained that future
    boycott and divestment actions at SDSU would single out “human rights
    violations” as the cause of pointing out certain companies and
    individuals to boycott. It was to be specifically about boycotting and
    divesting from Israel—the Jews—but they wouldn’t say that so as to
    deceive people.”

    • Dan Spitzer

      Stupids for Just Us in Foul-Asstine=Devious Mental Midgets.

  • naturally noah is against

    Noah Stern: AIPAC intern

  • Cal faculty member

    The foundationally racist government of Israel, along with its occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza, have at this stage only a limited lifespan.

    • Calipenguin

      The Israeli blockade of Gaza is only on the border with Israel. Gaza terrorists often try to sneak into Israel to kill civilians, as happened yesterday. Gaza’s border with Egypt is patrolled by Egyptian soldiers so why don’t you ask the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to stop its blockade of Gaza?

    • Stan De San Diego

      Funny how the only nation in the Middle East that allows Jews, Muslims,and Christians to worship freely is smeared as “racist” by some ignoramus. Regardless of whether you really are a Cal faculty member or not, you are clearly too sheltered in your cloistered environment to have a clue as to what really goes on in the outside world.

    • Dan Spitzer

      If you are indeed a Cal faculty member, come out from your screen name veil, you gutless anti-Semitic scumbag, and let us know who you are. It would hardly surprise me if you were from an Ethnic Studies department or a douche like Judith Butler.

  • Hooray for the students of UCI! As an American and Jewish, I am horrified at what is going on in the Middle East. It’s not that I agree with terrorism from Hamas, but Israel a wealthier government, has terrorized the Palestinians for too long and treat all of them like 2nd class citizens. When I was in college we condemned Apartheid for the very same reasons. Yes, there were South African terrorists fighting it as well. But it was big government versus oppressed people.

    I’m proud to be part of UC today.

    • Calipenguin

      You are a hypocrite because you yourself are a settler. You occupy land that belonged to Native American Indians and condone the injustices that robbed them of their lands so that you may live as an American. Before you call on Israelis to give land to Palestinians (which they’ve done BTW in Gaza) you should give up your own land or apartment to needy Native American families.

      • Arafat

        Emily:

        I feel sorry for you when I read your so called moderation. With due respect, you have the typical
        historical Jewish minority, “PLEASE LIKE ME” complex and it is so
        pitiful to read.

        Throughout Jewish History especially in Nazi Germany there were those Jews who begged to be accepted and liked by the host country’s people. “Like me and I will eat ham for you
        on Yom Kippur. Like me and I will put up a Christmas tree and call it a Hanukah
        Bush, like me and I will only pray one day a week, Sunday if you wish (the early
        German Reformed Jews), etc.” The first Jews to be gassed by Hitler were
        those Reformers (“please like me…”) who were viewed as a major
        threat by Hitler and his Jew hating Nazis.

        Fast forward to today: Here you are apologizing for Israel who is expected to live a double
        standard. Never mind the rockets and atrocities implemented by the Palestine
        people. If you read your history parts of Jordan are supposed to include part of
        Palestine–the world has convenient amnesia with this one. In the meantime
        here you are with your “please like me” attitude and no matter what
        you do they are NOT going to like you. You can stand on your head, eat ham and
        cheese sandwiches and they are still going to hate you because you are a Jew, period!

        Look in the mirror and accept that you are a Jew. Say it to yourself over and over and perhaps YOU can accept YOURSELF.

        Remember, if Israel disappears (the Jewish Host country)
        there IS NO place for American Jews or the World Jewish community to go in the
        event of another pogrom, anti-Semitic uprising or Holocaust. If there is
        another anti-Semitic uprising you are a Jew to these people no matter how much
        you apologize or try to appease them.

      • guest

        Calipenguin: so what are YOU doing about being on occupied land? Or are you just raising that point to exonerate Israel?

    • Dan Spitzer

      Emily, you aren’t very bright, are you? To remotely compare Israel with S. African apartheid is the mark of a truly ignoramus. And if you have ever been to Israel, then you must be blind, deaf and dumb as you somehow didn’t observe Jewish and Arab citizens being treated on an equal footing in every way.

      Finally, I suspect you won’t mind being called “Kapo Montan,” would you? After all, like the kapos who aided and abetted the Third Reich, you see nothing wrong in supporting a regime which openly calls for the liquidation of all Jews. BTW, that would also mean you, but then you are clearly masochistic so it appears that won’t trouble you a whit.

  • Arafat

    The Palestinians would spin George Orwell’s head around.

    They slit Jewish children throats and are cheered by their
    demented brothers and sisters and leaders and imams for doing so.

    They indiscriminately blow-up Israeli buses and then get
    streets named after them for doing so.

    They then whine, bitch and complain when Israel builds a
    separation barrier to protect her children from inhumane psychopaths who are
    praised for killing three-month old children.

    A sicker more pathological society would be hard for George
    Orwell to have imagined.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    The Palestinians are professional victims.

    They shoot thousands of rockets into Israeli town centers
    shouting out “Allahu Akbar” as the rockets leave their launch platforms.

    They shoot thousands of rockets during Israel’s rush hour
    and when school lets out invoking Allah’s good will that the rockets kill women
    and children.

    They then whine, bitch and moan when Israel targets their
    bloodthirsty terrorist rocket-making-and-shooting thugs who cower behind
    women’s skirts and alongside school children underneath their school desks as
    they hide from Israel’s attempt to bring justice to these
    child-murdering-Islamo-facists.

    What a truly pathetic, hypocritical, despicable people the
    Palestinians are. George Orwell would
    vomit at the thought that their behavior is rationalized by the intellectual
    elite.

  • Arafat

    Are people who support Hamas akin to people who supported
    the Nazis?

    Seems to me they are.

    Nazis destroyed all the Jews of Europe. Hamas never stops talking about destroying
    Jews.

    Nazis depicted Jews as beneath contempt just as Hamas
    does. Nazis blamed Jews for all their
    problems and so does Hamas.

    Seems to me the only difference is Hamas does not have the
    military required to really kill off all the Jews of Israel. If they did have these weapons everyone knows
    they would use them as indiscriminately as the Nazis did.

    I wonder what sort of person supports an organization that
    is today’s Nazis. What moral and
    intellectual blindness do these Nazi worshippers suffer from?

  • Arafat

    “To clarify: Wahhabism is the only officially
    recognized and allowed religion in Saudi Arabia. Other forms of Islam and other
    religions are banned and persecuted by the state. Saudi Arabia is the only
    Islamic state in which there is no church, no synagogue and no other place of
    worship of any other religion. Shiite Muslims have been systematically
    discriminated against for decades. Jews are even forbidden to enter the
    Kingdom. Saudi Arabia practices a form of Sharia law that is one of the most
    brutal systems in the world. Saudi Arabia has at all times rejected the
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Women may not drive a car and
    can be punished by flogging. Corporal punishment, including amputations and
    executions, are part of everyday life in the country. Just two weeks ago a
    Sudanese immigrant in Saudi Arabia was publicly beheaded for ‘sorcery.’ Saudi
    Arabia is one of the few countries in the world in which the death penalty is
    enforced even on teenagers,” the paper said.

  • MorganFreiheit

    The Stanford campus is already being decorated with posters demanding divestment against Israeli apartheid. See this photo from the Stanford Daily:

    http://twitter.com/Stanford_Daily/status/273154780724084736/photo/1
    Is ASUC listening? Consider divesting now.

    • Stan De San Diego

      How many times have you protested Hamas and other Muslim terrorist organizations targeting innocent civilians? I bet you’re perfectly content to let Hamas operatives kill Israeli civilians as well as their own fellow Gazans, based on your cowardly silence.

    • Dan Spitzer

      “Freiheit,” that rings a bell. Wasn’t your daddy in the SS? Didn’t he support genocide just like you pro-Palestinian advocates do? After all, that’s what your Foul-Asstinian Hamas leaders openly state as their aim in their own covenant.

    • Calipenguin

      In the spirit of fairness, if the ASUC divests from Israel, it must also divest from China for occupying Tibet. Let the ASUC senators explain to Cal’s Chinese students why China is a pariah. Then let the ASUC ban everyone’s iPods and iPhones (made by Foxconn in China).

  • Stan De San Diego

    If these assholes are serious about economic boycotts to end human rights abuses, how about agreeing to boycott marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other recreational drugs imported by the various Mexican drug cartels? Far more people have died far closer to home in Mexico than in Gaza, but don’t expect moral degenerates such as leftists to get serious about human rights abuses if it spoils their own perverted little pleasures.

  • libsrclowns

    Consider the founding charter of Hamas

    Before lending any credence to the anti-Israel nonsense spewed by the so-called Peace Coalition of Monterey County, I invite all readers to review the founding charter of Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, which is readily available on the Internet. It is a binding set of tenets that members are sworn to uphold. Here are a few “highlights” from that maniacal document:

    · “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”(Preamble);

    · “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.” (Article 13, Para 4);

    · “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims” (Article 28, Para 5).

    Over 1,500 rockets were fired into Israel in eight days, and although according to reports only 58 got through, the magnitude of the crime must be judged by the number launched, as each rocket had been specifically intended to kill as many Israelis (military, civilian, young, old, bakers, candlestick makers) as possible. A “genuine dialog” with these people? What would a reasonable compromise be in the coalition’s view, obliterating only half of Israel?

  • MorganFreiheit

    Yes, it’s high time that a divestment resolution is debated in ASUC. Apartheid deserves to be divested from. How many massacres of Gaza are we supposed to sit and watch?

    • Stan De San Diego

      The “massacres” would stop if your alleged “victims” would stop firing rockets at Israel.

    • I_h8_disqus

      Why restrict it to Israel? You should boycott every middle east nation, because each and everyone is responsible for human rights violations. There is no reason to just keep it to Israel. Apartheid goes both ways as anyone who thinks critically can see from the restrictions on Jews in every state in the middle east that isn’t called Israel.

    • Dan Spitzer

      And listen, schmuckhead: Israel, or any other country for that matter, is just supposed to sit there and take the aggression of missiles raining down on its citizens?

      Morgan, tell us how it feels to support Jewish genocide. Because that is just what Hamas openly says it wants. Read its fucking charter, you lowlife.

      As for UC Irvine’s vote, you notice that there has been no call for divestment from China or any Arab country run by Islamofascists (just about all of them). Only divestment from Israel. If that isn’t anti-Semitism, it’s hard to say what would be.

      And, of course, it’s the Islamofascists and their supporters at UC Irvine who were rightfully prosecuted for failure to permit the free speech of the Israeli ambassador. SJP and MSU are all for free speech except for that by Israel. They are typical Stalinist pigs.

    • Calipenguin

      There is no apartheid in Israel. Black, white, and brown Jews live peacefully together. Over a million Israeli citizens are Muslims and can travel at will and vote for the country’s legislature.

  • Calipenguin

    Let’s see if UC Irvine’s ASUC also bans Caterpillar, GE, and HP from recruiting on campus.

    • Dan Spitzer

      Here’s how the BDS measure at UC Irvine actually went down: Like the GSA condemnation of HR33, the Irvine student government met in secret, breaking the spirit of student gov’t rules by hiding what they were trying to pass and not publicly making any announcement of the vote until it was to late to counter. SJP and MSU are devious in the extreme as aptly reflecting the Palestinian leadership they champion.

      The student government at UC Irvine, given this vote, is thus no more representative of student opinion than SJP is on Berkeley’s campus.