Students slam California state legislature’s anti-BDS letter

Students for Justice in Palestine members at the University of California, Berkeley during Israeli Apartheid Week last year (Photo:

A coalition of student groups has strongly criticized a letter from California state legislators opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses.

Over 30 student groups in California, ranging from Latino groups to Students for Justice in Palestine chapters to peace and justice organizations, sent their own letter to the University of California (UC) Board of Regents, which controls UC’s investment portfolio. The student letter is in response to a missive signed by over 30 state officials in California that denounced divestment resolutions on UC campuses. The legislators said that the resolutions help create an “antagonistic environment for students who support Israel.”

A number of UC campus student governments passed resolutions over the past academic year urging the UC Regents to divest from companies linked to the Israeli military.

The student coalition states that the legislators’ letter was an attempt “to silence student democracy.” 

Here’s the letter in full, printed on Scribd:

Students Respond to CA Legislature Censorship

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics

{ 19 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. jsinton says:

    Have to do something to deserve that campaign money, don’t they?

    • Dutch says:

      Man, I tell you, people do funny things with their campaign money. Bribe a judge to become potus. Or put Israel’s interest first in Congress. It’s a wild world out there, man.

  2. OlegR says:

    Nobody cares.

    • if nobody cared, over 30 California state legislators would not be sticking their collective nose in where they don’t belong signing legislation denouncing student resolutions, effectively trying to silence students. you wouldn’t even be here if nobody cared. #fail.

    • Cliff says:

      Then why are you commenting, OlegR?

      I actually agree to an extent. No one in the Establishment cares like these wonderful people care.

      The Establishment may regard them as nuisances, hypocrites insofar as they aren’t either pro-Israel or mindless apolitical consumers, closet terrorist sympathizers, etc.

      But that lack of ‘caring’ isn’t an insult to the anti-occupation / anti-war ‘movement’.

      And as for the greater American public/ ‘people’ – no one ever cares.

    • A succinct summary as possible of your general attitude. You don’t care, so you think nobody else does. Ever heard of solipsism? You bunker view, as of your fellow IDF ostriches, is not shared by the wider world, much as though you would like it to be.

  3. pabelmont says:

    “The legislators said that the resolutions help create an “antagonistic environment for students who support Israel.””

    Has anyone asked whether these (30) bozos realize that ALL political activism (e.g., pro and anti abortion, pro and anti guns, pro and anti taxes) creates an antagoniztic environment for students who support he opposing tendency? What’s so special about students who “support” Israel?

    And has anyone consdered that these 30 have implied heartlessness on the part of all the other Calif state legislators who DID NOT condemn the BDS activism on campuses?

  4. just says:

    Perhaps you don’t Oleg, but a lot of folks do, in fact, care– including Israelis.

    Thanks for you input, though.

    • Dutch says:

      @ just
      “Thanks for you input, though.”

      I think his input was way too lengthy. He should skip the last word to fully understand it’s meaning.

    • just says:

      Including this Israeli:

      “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is directly involved in growing efforts to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, according to a report on the website of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

      Nahum Barnea, a leading Israeli commentator, reported June 25 that Netanyahu met with a small group of unnamed “Jewish millionaires” at the Israeli Presidential Conference last week in Jerusalem. Netanyahu “sought to raise their money and use their connections for the war against the anti-Israel boycott movement”–a movement Barnea says is “arousing great interest in Western countries, leaving its mark on the academic system, on economic decisions made by business and political organizations and on the media.”

      The details from Barnea are yet another indication of how seriously the Israeli establishment is taking the BDS movement. Netanyahu’s desire to combat BDS comes about a month after Israeli businessmen warned the prime minister that without progress towards a two-state solution, foreign investments would be withheld and “no one” would “buy goods” from Israel. And in a speech this week, Netanyahu “promised to implement the recommendations of [the Jewish People Policy Institute] with regards to countering international ‘delegitimization’ and boycott initiatives,” as the Electronic Intifada’s Ben White noted.”

      link to