June 8, 2020
The UC Davis student president vetoed a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) resolution on June 5 that the student senate passed the night before.
Kyle Krueger, the Associated Students, University of California Davis (ASUCD) president, said in a statement that he had decided to veto the resolution, Senate Resolution (SR) 25, because most of the Jewish community on campus have been outraged over it.
“This resolution was problematic because it included minimal to no input from the Jewish community beforehand,” Krueger said. “An overwhelming majority of Jewish students at last night’s Senate meeting expressed their hurt and frustration with SR #25, and every Jewish student I have spoken with since the resolution’s passage has expressed to me the hurt SR #25 has brought upon them and their communities. The resolution has been widely condemned by Jewish students of many different sects/beliefs who feel marginalized by ASUCD and its actions.”
The ASUCD president added that the campus doesn’t have a good history regarding anti-Semitism, citing a September 2019 article highlighting how there had been two instances of neo-Nazi flyers on campus in less than a year.
“We must do more to work with the Jewish community to address this incredibly prevalent and important issue,” he said.
Krueger acknowledged that the ASUCD needs to recognize Palestinian rights and voices as well, but should not alienate the Jewish community in doing so.
“A divisive resolution about an international conflict that we have little control over is never worth sacrificing our ability to collaborate on more directly impactful initiatives — such as expanding basic needs programs for students, or increasing inclusion and diversity in the association,” Krueger said.
He concluded his statement with a call for Jewish and Palestinian students to form a consensus on a resolution going forward, one that is more specific in calling out companies engaged in human rights abuses.
“Moving forward, I will hold myself accountable to serve as an ally to the Palestinian and Jewish communities, and do everything I can to make sure that all marginalized communities have the safety and security they deserve on the UC Davis campus,” Krueger said.
ASUCD President Emeritus Michael Gofman, who is Jewish, praised Krueger’s decision in a Facebook post, stating that Krueger had stood up against anti-Semitism.
“I made a challenge to supporters of BDS [during the June 4 ASUCD Senate meeting]: I can commit to supporting a Jewish and democratic state of Israel peacefully coexisting with it’s Palestinian neighbor. Can you do the same?” Gofman wrote. “Not one did. Not one expressed any recognition of Israel, sinking to accusing Jews of blood libel, genocide, and a whole host of factual and historical inaccuracies.”
He added that UC Davis and the ASUCD are still not good for Jews, but Krueger’s veto of the resolution as well as the various Jewish and pro-Israel groups on campus show that UC Davis and ASUCD both could become welcoming to Jews.
Jewish groups also praised Krueger’s veto.
“We are proud of the UC Davis students who stood up to this campaign of hate and defeated a bigoted resolution full of misleading claims,” StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement to the Journal. “Divestment only serves to fuel the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and deepen divisions between students at the worst possible time. We’re glad that the resolution was ultimately vetoed.”
AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “Kudos to UC Davis’ student president for seeing through the BDS charade. These resolutions carry zero weight. It is all part of a strategy directed by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to ostracize and silence all pro-Israel voices on campus, mainly Jewish students. And, frighteningly, these resolutions almost always result in the harassment of Jewish students.”
She added: “In fact, our latest research demonstrates that the direct targeting of Israel’s supporters for harm, especially Jewish students, reached alarming levels. Academic BDS-compliant behavior and promotion was linked to 86% of Israel-related acts of anti-Semitic harassment. Fortunately, more and more student leaders are no longer falling for the scam, and we applaud UC Davis’ student president today for saying no to more hate and divisiveness on his campus.”
The resolution had passed the ASUCD Senate on June 4 with five votes in favor, four against and one abstention. A similar divestment resolution had been passed and signed in the ASUCD in May 2015; the campus Judicial Council struck down the resolution June 2019, arguing that it violated the Student Bill of Rights barring discrimination and harassment on campus.
Read the article here.