The University of California, Irvine, student senate has voted to repeal a 2012 resolution calling for the university to divest from companies conducting business with Israel. The vote was held on March 31, leading to the resolution's appeal in a vote of 15-6-2 in favor. This took place despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and closures of most educational institutions in the United states.
The resolution to appeal was passed by the student senate declared that the original BDS resolution R48-15 has established a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus and that the use of the terms 'apartheid' in reference to Israeli policies is akin to a 'Blood Libel." It also denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as “contrary to the foundational ideals of Higher Education and thus the values of the UC.”
The Associated Students of UC Irvine (ASUCI) Senator Marshall H. Roe, a Jewish student and Navy veteran, said that the BDS movement “created a noxious atmosphere" on campus.
“I believe that embracing neutrality on this matter and thus repealing R48-15 would dispel the noxious atmosphere and create neutrality on campus, a neutrality that would foster an environment of reconciliation rather than rancor,” Roe added.
Roe also noted that the Pro-Palestinian organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) engaged in an intimidation and threat campaign against him and others. In one incident, members of SJP screamed at members of UC Irvine's Hillel outside a coffee shop.
Roe added that the resolution passed by the senate is a return for neutrality on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "The Senate felt it was impossible to have a constructive campus conversation about the conflict without embracing neutrality… I think, in many ways BDS legislation, helped to create a noxious environment that has allowed years of harassment."
Jewish groups also applauded the move to appeal.
“UC Irvine divestment originally passed at a time when major BDS initiatives on campus were relatively few and far between. These campaigns became much more frequent after that, subjecting Jewish and pro-Israel students across the U.S. to hatred, intimidation, and harassment. We’re proud of all the student activists who have fought against these hateful campaigns over the years, and congratulate the UC Irvine student government for finally rescinding this destructive resolution,” StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein said in an April 14 statement."ROD [Reservists on Duty] activists, invited by university students, have experienced quite a few violent incidents in recent years," ROD founder Amit Deri said in a statement. "Our speakers who are Zionist Arabs have been violently attacked as part of the 'free speech' that BDS activists allow on campus."We congratulate the decision of the Student Senate and hope that the toxic anti-Israeli antisemitic atmosphere will disappear from campus."