(June 9, 2020 / JNS) The student government at the University of California, Davis, passed a resolution last week calling for the school to boycott Israel—only for it to be boycotted by the student government president.
The Associated Students of the University of California, Davis, or ASUCD, passed the BDS resolution on June 4 by a vote of five in favor, four against and two abstentions.
The resolution called on “the Board of Regents of the University of California (UC Regents) to undertake practices of corporate social responsibility through divesting from corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, violating both international humanitarian law and international human rights.”
It singled out entities including Caterpillar Inc., and Raytheon for having “an active role in committing the aforementioned human-rights violations.”
Despite the resolution’s passage, ASUCD president Kyle Krueger vetoed it. In his veto message, Krueger wrote that the resolution singled out the Jewish community.
“On the Israel Palestine conflict, I have read article after article on the conflict, spoken to individuals on both sides, and been humbled by its overall nuance and complexity,” he stated. “As a 20-year-old who has not finished a college degree and who is not from Palestinian or Jewish descent, I do not feel qualified to make a decision about one of the most complex international conflicts in the world on my own.”
“Instead, I am obligated to respect the opinions and expertise of members of both the Jewish and Palestinian communities, and incorporate their input into my decision. I believe that it is incredibly important to include the input of all communities whom a particular piece of legislation or resolution may affect. People of all religions and nationalities deserve equal empathy and respect.”
Krueger went on to state that the “resolution was problematic in that it included minimal to no input from the Jewish community beforehand. An overwhelming majority of Jewish students at last night’s Senate meeting expressed their hurt and frustration with SR #25, and every Jewish student I have spoken with since the resolution’s passage has expressed to me the hurt SR #25 has brought upon them and their communities. The resolution has been widely condemned by Jewish students of many different sects/beliefs who feel marginalized by ASUCD and its actions.”
Krueger acknowledged that while “Palestinian students deserve the same utmost respect, and ASUCD needs to do more to be an ally for them as well,” but at the same time, “respect for the Palestinian community cannot come at the expense of respect for the Jewish community.”
The student government president also called the resolution “divisive” in that “an international conflict that we have little control over is never worth sacrificing our ability to collaborate on more directly impactful initiatives, such as expanding basic needs programs for students, or increasing inclusion and diversity in the association.”
Moreover, Krueger encouraged the resolution’s authors to “write a resolution that more holistically requests the UC’s divestment from companies involved in human-rights violations” and “seek the input, and ultimately the consensus, of both the Palestinian community and the Jewish community, along with all other potentially affected campus communities.”
Finally, he pledged to hold himself “accountable to serve as an ally to the Palestinian and Jewish communities, and do everything I can to make sure that all marginalized communities have the safety and security they deserve on the UC Davis campus.”
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