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StandWithUs Applauds Western Washington University Student Government's Unanimous Vote to Reject All Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Based on National Origin

(Seattle, WA — June 11, 2014) -- StandWithUs applauds the student government at Western Washington University (Associated Students WWU), which, on June 10, unanimously voted that it will not consider boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) based on national origin. The 7-0 vote represents the first time ever that a North American university's student government took pro-active legislative steps to protect students from discriminatory BDS campaigns, such as the ones that have targeted Israel at a number of campuses in recent years.

According to the resolution, the ASWWU will not support BDS campaigns because, “tensions between students related to foreign conflicts should be managed in a healthy and collaborative manner rather than be exacerbated.” It also expressed concern that BDS campaigns, “can cause students to be targeted on the basis of nationality” and lead to “disrespectful bias, hostility, hate, or harassment.” See A Resolution Regarding International Divestment, Boycott, and Sanctions at http://goo.gl/tmm7qE.

WWU Student Alysa Kipersztok, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow, brought the anti-BDS resolution to the ASWWU because I've seen how divisive anti-Israel BDS campaigns have been on campuses across the country. Western is a warm, respectful, inclusive community. Our mission statement states that WWU 'brings together individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in an inclusive, student-centered university.' BDS has been a source of disconnect and resentment among students, creating a hostile environment. It divides students, marginalizing those who support Israel. I want to thank our ASWWU for unconditionally supporting this process and for working closely with me to represent the desires of students to keep our campus safe.”

Kipersztok continued, “As a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow, I learned the importance of taking positive, pro-active steps to ensure that future dialogue regarding BDS is fair and representative of all student voices on our campus. StandWithUs respected me as a student and worked with me to better manage the conflicts that I've seen at so many schools, like the May divestment vote at the University of Washington.”

StandWithUs' Northwest Regional Director Rob Jacobs said, “Alysa is a tremendous example of the incredible student leaders StandWithUs works with nationwide. We help students stand up against BDS campaigns, campaigns that are intended to blame only Israel for the lack of peace, divide friends, shatter communities and create a hostile environment for many students. We salute the ASWWU for taking a strong, moral, and proactive stance against the targeting of students based on their identity. We've seen how anti-Israel divestment initiatives spread hatred and misinformation about Israel. BDS undermines education, mutual respect, and understanding on campuses, and does nothing to promote peace, justice, or human rights in the Middle East.”

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