Impervious to the reality that divestment harms Palestinians employed by Israeli companies, students at another institution vote to take part in this destructive campaign.
Stanford University’s Student Senate passed a resolution on Tuesday supporting divestment from corporations identified as “complicit in human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine,” The Stanford Daily reports.
The vote comes a week after the prestigious university’s Student Senate failed to pass the same resolution. Upon resubmission of the resolution, 10 senators voted in favor of the bill, while four voted against and one abstained.
Approximately 35 Stanford students attended Tuesday’s meeting. Last week’s meeting had over 400 people in attendance.
Ana Ordoñez, who abstained during last week’s vote, brought forward the motion calling for a re-vote. She claimed she was unable to focus last week because she was consumed by trying to keep the room under control in her capacity as Senate Chair. “Now that the noise has subsided, I know that I voted incorrectly,” Ordoñez is quoted by The Stanford Daily as saying.
Senators calling for a re-vote maintain that last week’s environment was hostile for those who were voting. Senators reported receiving numerous emails and text messages voicing various opinions on divestment. Ordoñez gave her closing remarks at last week’s meetings in tears.
Yes to ‘Divestment,’ But No to BDS?
Some Senators questioned the re-vote. “We are doing a large part of the student body a disservice,” said Senator Eric Theis according to The Stanford Daily, who maintains that the student body was given less than 24 hours notice on a midterm week. “It’s hard to use the motion to reconsider in the right way.”
The vote on the resolution saw two senators change their votes. One of them, who changed her vote from opposition to abstention, emphasized the fact that the amendment to the resolution explicitly separated the Senate from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“I was unprepared to process a bill that included an explicit separation from BDS,” Rachel Samuels said. “I was unprepared to be asked to be involved in the process of making sure the press understands that the Senate is not connected to BDS and that this bill affirms both Palestinian and Israeli right to life, security and self-determination.”
Senator Andrew Aude, however, noted that the press doesn’t differentiate. “Media coverage of the issue doesn’t consider whether the language of the bill separates it from BDS,” Aude said. “All that matters is whether it’s a victory for divestment.”
Sophomore Ramah Awad, who is involved with the pro-divestment group at Stanford that championed the bill, said that the next step would be “to pressure the Board of Trustees to follow through.”
Harvard University overturned a similar decision to divest an Israeli company by the university’s dining service in December.
Speaking in Israel earlier this year, former US Governor Mike Huckabee described BDS as an “irrational, anti-Semitic effort on the part of some organizations and nations.”