Berkeley student divestment veto upheld

But bill targeting firms "complicit in occupation" may be retabled.

NEW YORK -Berkeley's student government voted to uphold the veto of abill calling for divestment from companies deemed to be complicit inIsrael's occupation of the Palestinians.
A vote early Thursdayby the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeleyfailed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority to overturn a vetoof the bill by students' association President WIll Smelko, though thebill could be reconsidered as early as next week, according to a reportby the student newspaper, the Daily Californian.
Following alengthy discussion that began Wednesday night and concluded in theearly hours of Thursday, the Associated Students Senate voted 12-7,with one abstention, to uphold Smelko's veto.
If passed, thebill would have required divestment of students' association assetsfrom General Electric and United Technologies, two companies citedfrequently by Israel's detractors for complicity in alleged war crimesand perpetuating Israel's occupation.
The veto was uphelddespite high-profile support for the bill from South African ArchbishopDesmond Tutu and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor NoamChomsky. 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.
Despitethe inconclusive outcome, Israel's supporters on campus pointed to thefact that in senate elections held last week, Smelko's Student Actionparty won a majority of seats after three years in which it hadsuffered sagging electoral fortunes -- a result the party interpretedas indicating substantial student opposition to divestment. The votingremains clouded, however, by fraud allegations against Student Actionmember and Associated Students Senate President-elect Noah Stern.