Letter to the Editor: Divestment creates campus hostility
April 9, 2014
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The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement is an international effort to delegitimize Israel. The resolution calls for universities to divest funds used in companies such as GE, Caterpillar, HP, Motorola, etc. who do business with Israel. The resolution claims these companies are compliant in human rights violations on Israel’s behalf and thus universities must “divest.” At San Diego State, these funds come from the Campanile Foundation and are private donations from the university’s fundraising efforts. Regardless of the outcome of the resolution, the students do not have control over the money invested and thus this resolution has no financial impact, but instead tears apart campuses and creates a hostile environment.
The divestment resolution in student government only creates a platform for organizations to spread bigotry and hate toward Israel.
For example, Caterpillar has been a partner in building the security fence and checkpoints in the West Bank. These were put in place as a direct response to the Second Intifada in 2000, a time of violence in Israel with terror attacks, suicide bombers and heavy rocket fire in Israel from the Palestinian side. Since the creation of these security measures, suicide bombing and terror attacks in Israel have gone down by 90 percent and thousands of lives have been saved.
The resolution, however, claims this fence is an “apartheid wall” that separates Palestinians from Israel. However, they are simply a necessary measure for Israel, as the country has every right to defend itself and the security of its people.
Most people support peace as a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and it has been proven most Americans are in favor of a strong Israel-U.S. relationship. The BDS Movement is a strategy unrelated to peace, which fosters division, harbors bigotry and lies, and shuts down dialogue toward peace.
Although the resolution does not directly mention Jewish students or pro-Israel students, focusing and singling out Israel as a state is deeply offensive and damaging to many students on campus. If those who brought forward the resolution were really concerned about human rights, they would advocate for saving the lives of their own “refugees” who are in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc. Singling out Israel is unacceptable in the student government setting and really rips apart campuses. Whether the resolution passes or fails, nobody wins. I have been rejected numerous times in creating a dialogue toward progress or cooperating with Students for Justice in Palestine, as I have been told “SJP officers do not socialize with sympathizers of a brutal apartheid state.” That sort of rhetoric and attitude only shows the lack of interest in cooperation toward a peaceful future.
This resolution will further the tension and hostility by giving a platform for students to spew anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-Semitic sentiment. We must draw the line when criticism goes from being constructive to being destructive for our campus and beyond.
We believe in coexistence and are working to support the ongoing peace process, which aims to honor both the Israeli and Palestinian right to self-determination and security.
With such a message behind the movement, we cannot coexist peacefully on campus. No matter the result of the resolution in the student government, both sides must agree to the right of existence from each others peoples and work toward a peaceful future on campus and in the Middle East.
Aztecs for Israel President