update deskBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

Ohio State University student government rejects BDS

“It is disturbing that the International Socialist Organization, an off-campus group, was heavily involved in this campaign,” said Ron Krudo, executive director of campus affairs for StandWithUs.

The Ohio State University. Credit: Dan Keck/Flickr.
The Ohio State University. Credit: Dan Keck/Flickr.

Ohio State University’s student government overwhelmingly rejected a resolution on Wednesday night, calling on the school to separate itself from firms that do business with Israel.

The BDS measure, defeated in a vote of 30-7 with three abstentions, called for OSU to “divest from, and boycott G4S, Caterpillar Inc., Sabra Dipping Company and Hewlett-Packard, all of which benefit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” in addition to severing academic ties with the Jewish state.

The Undergraduate Student Government’s president and vice president announced opposition to the measure before it was voted on.

“We believe the implications of this resolution would negatively impact students on our campus and their opportunities for scholarships, research, and field experiences,” wrote USG president Shamina Merchant and USG vice president Shawn Semmler. “It stands against the core principle of academic freedom, and we are concerned about the exclusionary language used to address our educators on campus.”

This is not the first time that a BDS resolution was introduced on a college campus, only to be later defeated.

However, a boycott resolution was passed earlier this year.

Organizations such as Protect OSU and StandWithUs applauded the outcome.

“Time and time again, we have seen how the hateful BDS movement has divided our campus and obstructed dialogue and cooperation,” Protect OSU, which fights BDS sentiment there, posted on Facebook.

“We are proud of students who stood up to this campaign of hate and defeated a bigoted resolution full of misleading claims,” said StandWithUS CEO Roz Rothstein. “BDS only serves to fuel the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and deepen divisions between students on campus.”

“It is disturbing that the International Socialist Organization, an off-campus group, was heavily involved in this campaign,” said Ron Krudo, executive director of campus affairs for StandWithUs. “The ISO has promoted ‘unconditional support’ for Hamas and denied that anti-Semitism is a problem in the British Labour Party. It’s encouraging that the student government rejected their hateful agenda.”

Gary Sukienik, who attended OSU as an undergraduate and is now a student at the university’s dental school, also cheered the result.

“I’m very glad that the anti-Semitic and hateful BDS resolution failed,” he told JNS.

“I’m also glad that the undergraduate student government has been dedicated to keeping themselves educated year after year, and has not fallen prey to the deceptive language and lies that students in support of BDS often use,” he continued. “The student organization Buckeyes for Israel is under really great leadership, and I’m proud of them for staying dedicated to fight these resolutions that pop up year after year and playing an instrumental role in showing the student body that hate has no place on the Ohio State University’s campus!”

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