(October 26, 2014 / JNS)
On Friday afternoon, the Doctoral Students Council of the City University of New York (CUNY) once again considered a hateful resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
After the same measure was defeated by 41 votes last month, this destructive and divisive resolution once again reared its ugly head. For a second time, the resolution failed to win passage, receiving 31 out of a required 39 votes.
The hypocrites who promoted the resolution are part of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This well-funded and increasingly organized campaign seeks to isolate, demonize, and ultimately destroy the Jewish state of Israel.
The resolution’s backers claimed they were promoting justice and human rights, that they were seeking sovereignty and freedom for the Palestinian people, that they are trying to end the “occupation.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
To be part of the solution, we have to bring together people of different backgrounds and beliefs. We have to engage in meaningful dialogue. We have to empower the campus community to make a meaningful contribution to peace by promoting constructive efforts toward coexistence.
The hate-mongers who want CUNY to boycott Israeli universities are part of the problem. They are an obstacle to peace. Why would people who truly want peace demonize Israeli schools that have been at the forefront of criticizing Israeli government policies? Why would they isolate colleges that hire Palestinian faculty and actively recruit and subsidize Palestinian students? Why would they seek to tear down some of the most progressive institutions in Israeli society that are working to promote Palestinian statehood?
The fact remains that Israel wants peace and always has. For its entire existence, Israel has wanted nothing more than to live side by side in peace and security with its neighbors. Time and again, Israel has made painful sacrifices for even the prospect of peace. Honest and educated observers understand that the core of the conflict has always been and remains Arab and Palestinian rejectionism.
The supporters of BDS at CUNY have joined forces with these anti-peace rejectionists. They are undercutting those who are trying to find a two state solution for peace. They don’t care about ending the occupation—they just want to single out Israel for opprobrium. They think they know better than Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has denounced such BDS attacks on Israel.
Sensible students and faculty at CUNY organized to stand up for academic freedom and moral integrity by helping defeat this resolution. They were supported by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, StandWithUs, The Third Narrative, The Israel Project, and an on-site rapid response team from Israel on Campus Coalition.
The CUNY defenders of freedom and pursuers of peace prevailed once again Friday. And we should all applaud the tireless efforts of these CUNY students and faculty who are standing athwart the pro-hate BDS movement and saying, “stop.” They will succeed because, at the end of the day, love conquers hate. And it always will.
Jacob Baime is Executive Director of Israel on Campus Coalition.