UCLA student court: Israel trips no conflict of interest

Anthony Weiss

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A student-run judicial body at UCLA found that two former student government representatives did not violate conflict-of-interest rules in accepting sponsored trips to Israel.

The Judicial Board for the Undergraduate Students Association ruled Thursday in favor of Sunny Singh and Lauren Rogers, who had taken trips to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, respectively. The trips came prior to a February vote on a resolution urging the university to divest from corporations that do business in the West Bank.

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Pro-Palestinian groups had charged that Singh and Rogers should have abstained from voting on the resolution because their Israel trips constituted a conflict of interest. The divestment resolution failed, 7-5.

The ruling is the latest incident in a series of debates on Israel that have roiled the UCLA campus. Pro-Palestinian groups had urged candidates in the recent student government elections to sign a pledge promising not to take trips to Israel sponsored by the ADL, AIPAC or Hasbara Fellowships.

Singh, who refused to sign the pledge, narrowly lost his bid for student body president to a candidate, Devin Murphy, who did sign the pledge. However, a slate of candidates who refused to sign won a plurality of the council seats.

Noting the sensitivities concerning divestment, the Judicial Board said in its statement announcing the ruling that it was “not to be construed as a position on the issue of divestment.”