U.C. Santa Cruz rejects Israel divestment measure

(j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California) — The student senate at the University of California, Santa Cruz defeated an Israel divestment resolution.

Following a 45-minute discussion, the senate voted 19-17 against the resolution, with three abstentions, on Tuesday. The senate at its meeting a week earlier had held a public session on the matter.

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The measure urged the university to divest from companies that “profit from the illegal Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” It specifically named Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar and General Electric.

Representatives of the Santa Cruz Israel Action Committee, the Santa Cruz Hillel and the new Jewish Student Union, in addition to other agencies, were instrumental in lobbying against the resolution, said Danielle Meidan, the president of the Santa Cruz Israel Action Committee and the newly elected outreach chair of the Jewish Student Union. Meidan, a sophomore from Southern California, also is an Emerson fellow for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs.

Meidan, whose father is Israeli, said opponents of the resolution “weren’t very optimistic” that the bill could be defeated as recently as last week.

“It wasn’t going in our favor,” she said. “We were preparing for the worst.”

But the wording of the resolution was too aggressive, she said, repeatedly using phrases such as “Israel’s system of apartheid” and “Israel’s ongoing human rights violations.” She said senators were concerned that passage of the resolution would divide the campus.

The resolution was introduced by the Committee for Justice in Palestine at the university.

A similar resolution failed at U.C. Davis in May, while a divestment resolution passed in April at U.C. Berkeley.

SPONSORED TRIBUTES: Click here to read appreciations of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.