(April 25, 2019 / JNS) The University of Maryland’s student government on Wednesday evening rejected a resolution calling on the school to “divest from companies engaged in human-rights violations in Palestine.”
The final tally was nine votes in favor, 25 against and two abstentions.
The vote coincided with Passover, which began at sundown on April 19 and ends at nightfall on April 27, leading to criticism from the Jewish community at UMD, which consists of 16 percent of the overall student population of 40,521.
Terps for Israel, a student pro-Israel group on campus, celebrated the outcome.
“TFI is pleased to announce that the divisive BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions movement] bill did NOT pass! Thank you to all the students that came to the meeting tonight to voice their concerns against this bill. Also, thank you to all the SGA [Student Government Association] legislators who took the time to hear from their concerned constituents, as well as take time to continue to educate themselves on these issues. We look forward to keeping these nuanced conversations going with the greater UMD community,” it posted on Facebook.
“We are very proud of the students at UMD who once again stood up against this campaign of hatred and propaganda,” said Rena Nasar, managing director of Campus Affairs at StandWithUs. “BDS has no place on campus and has only served to divide students and damage efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.”
Yacov Greenspan, an alum, told JNS, “I’m thrilled that the resolution didn’t pass—the BDS platform isn’t logical or reasonable. But the vote was closer this year than last year. We need to remember to discuss the BDS movement with our friends outside the Jewish community so they can understand our stance beyond what they may hear from the other side and from the media.”
Divest UMD had no comment immediately after the resolution.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, told JNS that the latest defeat shows that “word is getting around” about the true intentions of the BDS movement.
“The purpose of BDS resolutions and BDS events are to divide the campus, inject hate onto campus and ostracize and marginalize those who do support Israel, largely Jewish students, to ultimately suppress all pro-Israel views on campus,” she said. “The fact that this vote was deliberately held during the Passover holiday, significantly limiting the number of Jewish students that could participate, says it all and directly counters the BDSers’ argument that they separate their anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism.”
“Kudos to the students at University of Maryland for seeing through the hateful BDS charade,” Rossman-Benjamin said.