Following an outcry that it was scheduling a vote on Israeli divestment when Jewish students wouldn’t be present, the City University of New York’s Doctoral Students’ Council agreed to change the meeting time at which the resolution would be considered.
The vote on the resolution, which also included a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions, had originally been scheduled for the council’s 6 p.m. meeting on Sept. 12, a Friday, when Jews would be observing the Sabbath.
Dominique Nisperos, communications co-chair for the council, told The College Fix in a phone interview that the council agreed to table the resolution with an amendment to change the day and time when the council would vote on it, so that it didn’t conflict with the Jewish Sabbath. The council normally meets at 6 p.m. Fridays.
Though Nisperos said a copy of the resolution was available on the council’s website, no such resolution appears on its “resolutions and reports” page, and the only other mention appears to be the council’s Sept. 8 announcement that a boycott-and-divestment resolution had been added to that week’s “plenary agenda.” Requests for a copy were not returned.
The Washington Free Beacon obtained what it said was a copy of the resolution, whose provisions appear to be standard fare for divestment resolutions.
It calls for divestment from companies doing business in Israel for its violation of “international law and Palestinian rights.” Particular to the academic boycott, it calls for the university’s Baruch College to sever ties with the College of Management Academic Studies in Rishon LeZion, a university in Israel. Baruch College did not return requests for comment.
The resolution opposes “draconian attempts to curtail free speech” by state legislatures to cut funds from “academics and institutions that associate with professional institutions that or that themselves endorse the boycott.”
Other notable resolutions from the council including prohibiting blood drives on campus because of federal rules that refuse to accept blood donations from gay men and calling for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
Not everyone is on board with the resolution.
“The resolution seeks to make it impossible for academics from Israel to have any relationship with us in CUNY,” Samuel Heilman, a professor of Jewish studies and sociology for the university’s Queens College, told The College Fix by email. “I see that as a grievous infringement of academic freedom.”
The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement “seeks to boycott Israel from ‘the river to the sea,’ as many of its champions say,” Heilman added. “That means it seeks the destruction of Israel.”
Not only are divestment proponents silent on the human rights records of countries such as Iran, Iraq and China, but they practice hypocrisy by using “Israeli software, technology” and other Israeli products and services, Heilman said.
The Israel on Campus Coalition also got involved in the fight over the council’s divestment resolution.
Executive Director Jacob Baime told The College Fix the resolution was “divisive and designed to tear apart the CUNY community” by singling out Israel. “This resolution sought to undercut Israelis and Palestinians who are working for a two state solution and for peace and dignity for the Palestinians.”
College Fix reporter Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.