Berkeley 58 .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK -Berkeley's student government voted to uphold the veto of a
bill calling for divestment from companies deemed to be complicit in
Israel's occupation of the Palestinians.
A vote early Thursday
by the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley
failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority to overturn a veto
of the bill by students' association President WIll Smelko, though the
bill could be reconsidered as early as next week, according to a report
by the student newspaper, the Daily Californian.
lengthy discussion that began Wednesday night and concluded in the
early hours of Thursday, the Associated Students Senate voted 12-7,
with one abstention, to uphold Smelko's veto.
If passed, the
bill would have required divestment of students' association assets
from General Electric and United Technologies, two companies cited
frequently by Israel's detractors for complicity in alleged war crimes
and perpetuating Israel's occupation.
The veto was upheld
despite high-profile support for the bill from South African Archbishop
Desmond Tutu and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Noam
Chomsky. In the wake of the initial 16-4 adoption of the bill in March,
Jewish campus groups mobilized to engineer its defeat.
Hundreds attended the Wednesday-night session, including Israel's consul general in San Francisco, Akiva Tor.
Following the vote, a procedural motion resulted in two more hours of discussion. The Senate then moved to table the bill.
the inconclusive outcome, Israel's supporters on campus pointed to the
fact that in senate elections held last week, Smelko's Student Action
party won a majority of seats after three years in which it had
suffered sagging electoral fortunes -- a result the party interpreted
as indicating substantial student opposition to divestment. The voting
remains clouded, however, by fraud allegations against Student Action
member and Associated Students Senate President-elect Noah Stern.