University of Michigan’s student government passed a resolution on Wednesday morning that called for the university to form a committee to look into possibly divesting from companies that operated in Israel.
The resolution passed with a vote of 23 in favor, 17 against and five others who abstained. The vote occurred under a secret ballot with the rationale that it was necessary to protect pro-Palestinian students from being blacklisted.
Those who argued in favor of the resolution claimed that it wasn’t targeting Israel, it was giving representation to the Palestinians.
“I want to emphasize over and over again that this resolution emphasizes the voices of Palestinian students … and to give this community a voice for the first time in CSG history is to not take away from any other community,” said senior Hafsa Tout, a representative from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
Those against it argued that the resolution was in fact targeting Israel and the Jewish people.
“It was about singling out Israel as the sole entity responsible for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,” Tilly Shames, the director of the university’s Hillel chapter, told Jewish students. “And that’s an oversimplification, overgeneralization of an historically complex conflict that really can’t be attributed to one side or the other.”
Despite the resolution’s passage, the university won’t be divesting from these companies that conduct business in Israel.
“The university’s longstanding policy is to shield the endowment from political pressures and to base our investment decisions solely on financial factors such as risk and return,” said Rick Fitzgerald, the university’s spokesman.
There had been 10 prior attempts to pass the resolution, they had all failed.