Resolution proposing divestment from corporations with Israeli ties overturned at UC Davis

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Less than four weeks after the Associated Students of the University of California, Davis, or ASUCD, passed a resolution calling for divestment from corporations associated with the Israeli military, the ASUCD court decided that the ASUCD did not have jurisdictional rights to pass the resolution, rendering it null.

Petitioner and UC Davis senior Jonathan Mitchell sued the ASUCD for passing a resolution that does not uphold its main goal of student welfare. At the hearing, Mitchell cited a precedent that defined student welfare as referring to resources, education, safety and rights. The resolution, Mitchell said, does not relate to any of the four tenets connected to student welfare.

Andaru Iman, interim chief justice of the ASUCD court, said the court, in response to Mitchell’s arguments, had to decide if the ASUCD was constitutionally allowed to pass political documents and if there was a difference between personal welfare and student welfare.

Ultimately, the court decided that in certain circumstances, personal welfare and student welfare are inextricably linked. Thus, ASUCD could pass political documents, Iman said — as long as those resolutions include explicit language that describes how they tangibly impact student welfare. The divestment resolution was found to not meet that criterion — but if rewritten, Iman said, it could potentially be passed in the future.

A precedent for the case was established in 2000, when the court ruled on the constitutionality of Senate Resolution 9, which expressed the ASUCD’s opposition to a ban on gay marriage in California. The court held that the resolution was not related to the student welfare and therefore rendered the resolution void.

It is still uncertain if ASUCD will attempt to pass a revised version of the divestment bill to meet the standards established by the ruling, but Azka Fayyaz, ASUCD senator and co-author of the resolution, said the court’s findings do not mitigate the primary focus of the resolution — to bring awareness to the divestment movement.

“It was victorious in what it was trying to do — build coalitions that work against injustice, or at least raise awareness,” Fayyaz said.

She also expressed concern over the possible motives of the petitioner who sought to overturn the resolution, claiming that students who oppose divestment seek to “silence Palestinian activism on university campuses.”

Associate justice Malcolm Rivera said there were concerns that ruling on the issue could “irreparably ruin” the court’s reputation. Two justices recused themselves from the vote, he said, and Iman said he voted against taking the case.

After reading the resolution, however, Rivera said, Mitchell raised good points.

“UC Davis has an arbiter body that can talk about issues on a legal — aside from moral — standpoint,” he said.

The ASUCD Court will release its decision Monday, at which point it will be official.

Contact Jamie Nguyen at [email protected].

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  • thompson_richard

    nevertheless Netanyahu must appear at the International Criminal Court.

  • Mark Talmont

    So many oppressed peoples, so little time. I like the idea of “following the money” with respect to rights issues as it is very clear the political mechanisms are pretty much a lost cause. (Because of money, mostly). But I tire of these chest-beating affairs because (1) it should be incumbent upon the advocates to trace through the cash flows and figure out what strings could be pulled directly by way of over-the-counter consumer expenditures to accomplish the same thing and (2) there is such hideous hypocrisy about who’s minority group is the most oppressed. Why does China get a pass on everything? There are 7 million people in prison labor there (LaoGai.org) they invaded Tibet and are destroying an ancient indigenous culture (and grabbing a key water resource for Asia) and severely repress the Muslim Uighurs, 40 million strong though not much in the face of the Han Chinese 1.5 billion. Notice how the other Muslims don’t even care? China just stuck one of the Uighur spokesmen in prison for life (Professor Tohti) for speech crimes.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/world/asia/china-court-sentences-uighur-scholar-to-life-in-separatism-case.html?_r=0

  • Dan Spitzer

    Here’s the website link to the economic study I discussed in a previous post on how BDS was actually hurting the Palestinian economy while having little impact upon that of Israel:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/carriesheffield/2015/02/22/boycott-israel-movement-stunts-the-palestinian-economy/

  • Dan Spitzer

    It’s been a bad day for the Palestinian Authority–you know, the so-called “moderates.” They have lost a huge jury award to the relatives of those Americans murdered by Palestinian terrorist attacks. Here’s the first couple of paragraphs from the NY Times story:
    The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization
    were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in
    knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and
    2004 in which Americans were killed and injured.
    The
    damages are to be $655.5 million, under a special terrorism law that
    provides for tripling the $218.5 million awarded by the jury in Federal
    District Court.
    The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian
    organizations responsible for the terrorist acts. While the decision
    was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs, it could also serve to
    strengthen Israel’s claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian
    forces were directly linked to terrorism.

  • thompson_richard

    “The dilemma for European governments is to defend free speech while
    curbing anti-Semitic hate-speech, particularly when uttered by Muslim
    minorities that feel themselves to be victims of Islamophobia, often
    with good cause. A measured public discourse about Israel would help.
    There are fuzzy but real boundaries between anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism
    and rightful criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Jews
    collectively are not responsible for the actions of Israel; legitimate
    censure of Israeli occupation policies should not extend to
    delegitimizing Israel as a refuge for Jews.~ The Economist Magazine

  • Arafat

    How about we boycott Jordan, which has
    maintained a policy of rejecting and deporting Palestinian refugees from Syria,
    while simultaneously allowing a few hundred thousand Syrian nationals to take
    refuge there. And what of Lebanon who in 2001 stripped its few hundred thousand
    Palestinian residents of the right to own property or pass it on to their
    descendants and banned them from employment as lawyers and doctors along with
    more than 20 other professions. Or how about Kuwait who in 1991 uprooted some
    250,000 Palestinians from their homes and expelled them from that country. The
    list goes on. Is there no BDS movement for them? Is it just for the Jews?”

    • Mark Talmont

      I confess ignorance of some of these instances, but in the case of Jordan, I think it’s fair for them to be a touch testy about the presence of large numbers of Palestinians seeing as how the PLO once tried to overthrow their government. (Black September).

    • Skip Loader

      Sounds like you know the punchline already, but perhaps some of the college kiddies should Google “Black September” and learn something about why the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan isn’t overly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

  • ☑ rekt
    ☐ not rekt