U of Minnesota student government strikes resolutions on divestment, anti-Semitism

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The student government at the University of Minnesota declined to vote on one resolution calling for divestment from companies that support Israel and on another condemning anti-Semitism on campus.

The Minnesota Student Association on Tuesday evening voted to strike the resolutions from its agenda, preventing them from coming up for a vote of the student representatives, the Daily Minnesota student newspaper reported.

The divestment resolution was sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine. The campus anti-Semitism resolution was sponsored by the Students Supporting Israel organization.

Dozens of students and faculty members filled a campus lecture hall, some wearing T-shirts reading University of Minnesota in Hebrew letters and others wearing a traditional Muslim hijab.

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Prior to debating the resolutions, student representative Trish Palermo called for the resolutions to be removed from the agenda. She told the student representatives that it “wasn’t fair to put the student body in the position of choosing between being labeled anti-Semitic or in favor of war crimes,” the student newspaper reported.

University President Eric Kaler said in a statement before the meeting that he did not endorse either resolution.

Kaler said he does not support divestment from Israel because such a boycott violates the university’s “commitment to the free exchange of ideas,” and that he thought the anti-Semitism resolution could limit the ability of students to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I am also concerned that the second resolution may limit the prospects for constructive campus dialogue in light of its possible implication that supporters of the disinvestment resolution are also supporters of anti-Semitism,” Kaler said in the statement.

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