Anti-divestment talking points: Avoid the facts and claim victimhood

Israel/Palestine
on 65 Comments

The following talking points were distributed on UC Berkeley’s campus in the days leading up to last night’s debate over divestment. Several sources on Berkeley’s campus have confirmed that they had seen them on campus, and that they were adhered to closely by anti-divestment advocates during the debate itself.

Anti-Divestment Bill: Unifying Strategies for Our Jewish Community

The message: The bill is an attack on our Jewish community. It silences our voices.

DO include in your speech

**End your speech with "Don’t Silence Me" This will have a powerful, unifying impact.**

Keep it very short, about a minute

Unfairly choosing a side, under false pretense, is to shut down a productive and meaningful discussion. This can only cause more tensions and conflict. It takes away OUR voice.

Make it personal, include personal experiences and emphasize feelings of personal attack.

BE EMOTIONAL. Don’t be afraid to show how you feel (angry, sad, etc.)

There will always be dissenters; they don’t represent the voice of the Jewish community.

WE are the voice of the Jewish community at Cal (can refer to all the Jewish student groups that are against the bill – which collectively represent over 500 Jewish students on our campus).

If the issue is so clear, why is it so divisive? This may be one of those occasions when it’s not appropriate for you (the ASUC senators) to decide something for everyone on campus.

The Bill is out of context and based on questionable sources (no need to go into detail). Thus, the bill is in fact an attack on the JEWISH COMMUNITY.

An unjustified attack on Israel is an attack on my Jewish identity. It is attacking ME.

The ASUC and our university have been hijacked by an extremist agenda, through this bill.

A small group of partisans are trying to leverage the reputation of UC Berkeley for their own narrow political purposes. These partisans have NO concern for the bitter divisiveness they have caused on campus.

The voices of the general student body are telling you (through thousands of emails, etc.) – loud and clear – that there is no student consensus outside of these partisan supporters for this bill. The supporters of the bill are demanding that you choose between them and the other 99% of the students you (the ASUC senators) represent.

The ASUC Senators didn’t campaign on this issue so they cannot claim to have an electoral mandate, and every source of data (news stories and opinion pieces in the paper and associated comments, the e-mails they have received, the high-pitched debates) attests to the fact that they cannot claim to be representing a campus consensus or majority.

DO NOT include in your speech

DON’T mention that Israel is being singled out (don’t mention crimes committed by other countries). Don’t suggest divesting from other countries. It is a weak argument and implies that Israel has committed war crimes.

DON’T try to deconstruct the bill. DON’T focus on addressing the fallacies/specifics of the bill.

Instead, focus on how it is an attack on the Jewish community.

AVOID a debate on the Middle East. Supporters of the bill would like to argue on this platform.

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