CA’s largest student union condemns resolution HR 35, tells UC Regents stop profiting from Israeli occupation

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
University of California Student Association

BERKELEY, CA – The University of California Student Association (UCSA), which represents hundreds of thousands of students at all 10 UC campuses, passed a resolution today condemning recent attempts to censure boycott and divestment efforts by Palestinian human rights activists on campus, and demanding that the UC stop profiting from Israel’s human rights violations. The motion passed without opposition by a vote of 12 to 0 (2 abstensions).

The resolution follows a recent motion passed by the California Assembly, HR-35. While ostensibly aimed at protecting Jewish students from experiencing anti-Semitism on campus, HR-35 conflates legitimate, principled criticism of Israeli policy with anti-Semitism, raising concerns about free speech rights and academic freedom for students and faculty.

“HR35’s supporters wish to draw a protective circle around Israel and say you are exempt from the same criticism that we apply to other abusive state actors,” said Shahryar Abbasi, a voting member of UCSA representing the UC Berkeley campus. “Today’s vote is a statement that UC students believe in free speech and universal human rights, and that we don’t want to profit from gross human rights abuses committed by any country, including Israel. We hope UC Regents will hear and respect our decision.”

The resolution expresses “the UCSA’s opposition to all racism, whether it be the racism of campus and global anti-Semitism or the racism of Israel’s human rights violations, neither of which our campuses should tolerate, support, or profit from.” Israel is engaged in a 45-year-old military occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, which is illegal under international law.

Currently, the UC holds millions of dollars in investments in Caterpillar Inc. and Hewlett-Packard. Caterpillar bulldozers are used by the Israeli army to destroy Palestinian homes and agricultural land, to build illegal Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land, and to construct the West Bank wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice. Hewlett-Packard’s products are used by the Israeli navy to enforce Israel’s blockade of Gaza, also deemed illegal by the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In the hours following the vote, national peace organization Jewish Voice for Peace voiced its strong support for the resolution. “This vote is important because the student body of one of the world’s great public universities has unequivocally repudiated efforts to use false charges of anti-Semitism to stifle criticism of Israeli policies,” said Cecilie Surasky, Deputy Director of Jewish Voice Peace. “Many Jewish UC students and professors have been very clear–efforts like HR35 aren’t about protecting Jewish students. They are about trying to protect the right-wing government of Israel from the criticism of others, many of whom are Jewish. “

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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9 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    September 16, 2012, 12:08 pm


  2. jimmy
    September 16, 2012, 12:36 pm

    all the while the likes of pam gellar and robert spencer….condemn ALL muslims as being savages and terrorist…

    and on a side note I beleive there was a museum in baltimore a few years back where some jewish person put up a statue of the virgin mary and then threw crap on it and called it art…

    • Mooser
      September 16, 2012, 2:55 pm

      “I beleive there was a museum in baltimore a few years back where some jewish person put up a statue of the virgin mary and then threw crap on it and called it art…”

      Threw crap on it? That’s a butt libel! As a matter of fact there Julius, the Jewish religion prohibits “graven images”.

    • RoHa
      September 16, 2012, 8:56 pm

      “I beleive there was …”

      And have you made the slightest effort to check your “beleif”?

      I suspect you have a distorted memory of this

      by Chris Ofili. Ofili is an Englishman raised as a Roman Catholic. (His ancestors came from Nigeria.)

  3. Tom Pessah
    September 16, 2012, 1:52 pm

    please correct the following: while the body that voted on Saturday is indeed the University of California Student Association, this press release was issued by Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley

    For more info contact Luma Hadad, (510) 847-6186 [email protected]

    • Annie Robbins
      September 16, 2012, 2:03 pm

      thanks tom, i called luma’s number after this was published this morning and the gentleman there mentioned it was SJP. i will change now , sorry for the delay. and thanks for your email alert. it was one of the ones forwarded to me last night directly after the vote.

  4. Tom Pessah
    September 16, 2012, 1:54 pm

    apart from Mondoweiss, most media outlets have not reported this so far. Please consider calling one and letting them know.

  5. dbroncos
    September 16, 2012, 10:31 pm

    Love it. Keep up the pressure UC students!

  6. pabelmont
    September 17, 2012, 11:57 am

    I hope the UC folks invite everyone, including any Jew who is interested, to their protests of Israeli practices (human rights abuses, international lawlessness) and mention that their members (or attendees) have always included a number of Jews who cannot abide Israel’s reprehensible behavior.

    Since some Jews are comfortable with their protests and others are made uncomfortable by them, it is clear that the comfort/discomfort arise from inside the Jewish students themselves — depending on their political, moral, and other views, and not on the protests per se. The protests are not anti-Semitic.

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