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UCLA Student Gov’t Passes BDS Resolution

Move comes a week after UCLA’s Graduate Student Association passed a BDS resolution.
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February 22, 2024
UCLA Royce Hall (Photo by Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.)

The UCLA undergraduate student government passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Tuesday night.

The Daily Bruin reported that the resolution passed the Undergraduates Students Association Council (USAC) by a of 10-3 vote in a secret ballot following a debate that lasted nearly three hours. The resolution accuses Israel of engaging in “a genocidal bombing campaign and ground invasion against Palestinians in Gaza” as well as subjecting “the occupied Palestinian population to military rule.” It further claims that UCLA won’t “acknowledge our own complicity in settler-colonial genocide and apartheid through UC contracts, pensions, and investments in companies profiting from Israeli violations of international law.”

Additionally, the resolution mandates that the USAC “maintain an updated list of boycotted vendors and corporations, including vendors and corporations targeted by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, that shall be regularly provided to all student groups/departments and any student within the reimbursement request form and upon request.” The resolution also urges UCLA “to enact similar policies preventing financial or other monetary assets from being used to purchase materials from” companies and other entities that “provide material assistance to the commission or maintenance of flagrant violations of international law and human rights, such as illegal annexation of territory, colonialism, apartheid, denial of the right to self-determination, war crimes and crimes against humanity, or that discriminate on the bases of race, color, caste, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, or age,” and denounces “all forms of oppression,” including antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism.

The USAC’s passage of the resolution comes after the UCLA Graduate Student Association passed a BDS resolution on Feb. 15, according to the Bruin.

The university addressed the passage of both resolutions in a statement on Wednesday. “These resolutions run counter to the position of the University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel,” the university said. “This has been the longstanding position of all 10 UC campus chancellors and the UC Office of the President. We stand firm in our conviction that a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty and to the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on our campuses.”

“These resolutions run counter to the position of the University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel.” – UCLA Statement

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles lauded the university’s statement for saying that the resolutions won’t “impact campus policy.” “These resolutions are antithetical to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech,” the Federation said in a statement. “They contribute to the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students and faculty. It is imperative that the UCLA administration continue to denounce antisemitism and actively work toward solutions that help create thriving Jewish life and a more inclusive and welcoming campus environment.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean and Director of Social Action Agenda Rabbi Abraham Cooper denounced the USAC vote, referring to BDS as an antisemitic movement and calling the vote “particularly divisive as it comes as Israel still struggles to free hostages kidnapped by the Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7th and still mourns the largest mass murder of Jews in a single day since the Nazi Holocaust.” “Pro-Hamas campaigners and hypocritical NGOs and diplomats and jurists thrust the victim — Israel — in the docket of accused genocidal killers, while providing mass murdering, raping, kidnapping, hostage taking Hamas terrorists a lifeline to the future so they can resume and expand their goal of the elimination of the Jewish people,” Cooper added in a statement on the Wiesenthal Center’s website. “SWC joins with renowned Dr. Judea Pearl in emphasizing that Zionism is a core historical value of the Jewish people and that Zionists on the faculty and student body must be respected and protected from intimidation and demonization.”

UCLA Hillel Executive Director Dan Gold posted a video to the Hillel’s Instagram page expressing pride in UCLA’s Jewish students for standing up against the resolution during public comment despite knowing that the vote was already “a lost cause … We heard all the tropes last night,” Gold said. “We’re the oppressor, we have blood money lining our pockets, that we’re classist, that we’re killers, and worse, that we don’t know our own history. I’m here for you, and Hillel is always here for anyone that needs support or extra uplifting this week.”

However, despite the “stain” the resolution leaves on UCLA, “last night showed our community’s strength and our immense connectivity of the Jewish people,” Gold contended. “Last night I heard the beauty of our community, I heard the diversity of our community, and I heard voices sharing your personal stories and your family histories and the truth of about Zionism, Israel and our Bruin Jewish community.”

He added that the Bruin Jewish community “spoke truth to power” during public comment. “You have the entire Jewish world behind you, not only at Hillel,” Gold said. “You have inspired and you have shown us that our community is in good hands, and we will have the brightest future with all of you leading it. I cannot tell you how proud I am and how moved I am and how honored I am to be with you all here at UCLA.”

 

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