June 4, 2019
A student-run judicial council at a California school unanimously ruled in May that a pro-Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) resolution passed by its student government was unconstitutional.
The University of California-Davis judicial council cited that the bill prompted harassment of Jewish students in its decision, according to The California Aggie.
This ruling nullifies a 2015 pro-BDS resolution passed by the UC-Davis student government, which encouraged the university to divest from companies that do business with “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, violating both international humanitarian law and international human rights.”
The judicial council voted to nullify the resolution, claiming that it is “inconsistent with the [student government] constitution.”
“The [student government] senate must promote student welfare, meaning it cannot hinder the welfare of any student,” the council said in its decision. “While this Resolution caters to the welfare of a group of students, it does so at the expense of the welfare of other students.”
Additionally, the council found that the resolution caused discrimination and harassment.
“The passing of this Resolution has led to the discrimination and harassment of students whose ethnicity, national origin or political beliefs are in opposition to the content of the Resolution,” the body stated. “As discussed during the hearing, the verbiage within the Resolution has caused harassment against many students.”
While the Judicial Council branded the resolution as unconstitutional, the current student government president and vice president both disagree with the ruling.
“My understanding of the resolution is that it was specifically targeted against the actions of the Israeli government, not the individuals of Israel,” UC-Davis student government President Justin Hurst said, according to the Aggie. “Another comparison is with the importance of similar legislation of the U.S. government during apartheid in South Africa. The point of it was to change the government’s actions — it had nothing to do with the people of the country.”
He called the resolution an “opinion” and claimed that “silencing” it amounted to “a violation of free speech.”
Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, told Campus Reform that the UC-Davis judicial council did the right thing by nullifying the BDS resolution.
“StandWithUs applauds the UC-Davis Judicial Council for recognizing that this bigoted pro-BDS measure does not promote the welfare of all students and is, in fact, divisive, as it ostracizes students who support Israel,” Rothstein said. “Increased incidents of anti-Semitism such as the displaying of Nazi imagery, harassment and discriminatory treatment of Jewish and pro-Israel students are often evidenced during these pro-BDS campaigns, regardless of the outcome.
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