A resolution calling for UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) to divest from various companies that conduct business with Israel narrowly failed in the student senate on the morning of May 27 following a 12-hour debate on the matter.
The final vote was 12 in favor and 13 against; zero members of the student senate abstained. The resolution, which was obtained by the Journal, singled out Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin and General Electric, among others, stating that “Caterpillar has provided engineering tools routinely used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, refugee camps, water cisterns, and agricultural fields in the West Bank and Gaza, and bulldozers used to expand illegal settlements and to construct the Apartheid Wall and military checkpoints throughout the West Bank” and that Lockheed Martin has provided various armaments to the Israeli military. “Investment in these companies shows implicit support for the decisions and actions of these companies and the Israeli government, as well as their consequences, which include the killings of civilians.”
Santa Barbara Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Evan Goodman said in a statement, “We are extraordinarily proud of our students for their resolve and integrity in the months, weeks and days leading up to tonight’s vote. After an exceptionally trying year of distance and isolation, they gave everything they had to fight this anti-Israel resolution. Pro-Israel students fought for the moral and intellectual integrity of our university and they succeeded.”
However, Goodman pointed out that nearly every Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) speaker accused Israel of “death, genocide and ethnic cleansing” and at one point a speaker shouted “F*** Israel” and “Israel isn’t a real state,” prompting the meeting to be suspended until the speaker was booted from the Zoom meeting. Additionally, “the Facebook Live chat was shut down due to libelous comments made about” Goodman.
“In recent weeks some Jewish students have suffered through antisemitic harassment around campus,” Goodman said. “Santa Barbara Hillel and our campus partners will not allow messages of hate to tear apart our campus community or to isolate Jewish students because of their religious or ethnic identities or because they support the Jewish State of Israel. The pro-Israel community of University of California, Santa Barbara remain committed to being part of the solution.”
StandWithUs Executive Director of Research and Strategy Max Samarov, a UCSB alumnus, also said in a statement, “We are incredibly proud of all the UCSB students who came together and defeated divestment for the seventh time since 2013. With comments such as ‘Israel is an illegitimate state,’ supporters of BDS at UCSB made clear that they are part of the problem. We commend the majority of senators who stood on the right side of history and rejected this campaign of hate.”