Ohio State rejects BDS resolution to boycott Sabra, Israeli academics

The motion called to "divest from, and boycott G4S, Caterpillar Inc., Sabra Dipping Company, and Hewlett-Packard- all of which benefit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine."

December 6, 2018 13:20
2 minute read.
A man wearng a T-shirt with the message, "Boycott Israel Apartheid" holds a Palestinian flag during

A man wearng a T-shirt with the message, "Boycott Israel Apartheid" holds a Palestinian flag during a protest action on a bridge overlooking umbrellas placed along the artificial beach along the "Paris Plages" event, in Paris, France, August 13, 2015. Paris' decision to celebrate "Tel Aviv on Seine". (photo credit: REUTERS/PASCAL ROSSIGNOL)


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A resolution to divest from and boycott Israeli products and universities was rejected by Ohio State University on Thursday with 33 against the move and only 7 in favor.

The motion called to “divest from and boycott G4S, Caterpillar Inc.., Sabra Dipping Company, and Hewlett-Packard – all of which benefit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

The students called for the divestment because of Ohio State’s $3.6 billion endowment fund and $6.1b. in revenue, some of which is invested in those three companies.

“We are proud of students who stood up to this campaign of hate and defeated a bigoted resolution full of misleading claims,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said. “BDS only serves to fuel the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and deepen divisions between students on campus.”

The International Socialist Organization was heavily involved in the campaign for the divestment, according to StandWithUs.

“It is disturbing that the International Socialist Organization – an off campus group – was heavily involved in this campaign,” said Ron Krudo, executive director of campus affairs at StandWithUs. “The ISO has promoted ‘unconditional support’ for Hamas and denied that antisemitism is a problem in the British Labour Party. It’s encouraging that the student government rejected their hateful agenda.”

The International Socialist Organization is a group of socialists who claim to fight “oppression and fight for a world centered around human need, not corporate greed.” Their Columbus branch is currently located in Ohio State University.

While live-streaming the vote, the International Socialist Organization-Columbus critiqued the results of the vote and posted: “The passing of BDS measures in universities does not lead to antisemitism. In fact the international Left has been the most ardent opponent of antisemitism and the oppression of Palestinians.”

“All the arguments of our opposition are based on lies, slander, misrepresentation, and out-and-out racism and islamophobia,” the group wrote. “The Trump regime is a main component in the rise of antisemitism, not BDS.”

The group also claimed that many organizations, including Jewish ones, supported the Ohio State coalition for BDS.

The Undergraduate Student Government published a statement that they were concerned about the “exclusionary language used” in the resolution and believe the legislation “goes against the mission and values of our university.”

StandWithUS is a non-profit Israel advocacy group, with an emphasis on fighting BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, on college campuses.

The Ohio State vote follows a string of similar votes on whether to boycott Israel across college campuses in the United States, with many pro-Israel activists in universities struggling with how to address the issue.

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