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Cornell student gov’t knocks down Israel divestment

Accused Israel of ‘genocide’

Cornell University’s student government voted down a resolution that called for divestment from Israel and accused the Middle Eastern state of genocide.

The Cornell Student Assembly rejected Resolution 51, which demanded the Board of Trustees divest from Israel.

It passed a separate resolution that would create a committee to look into Cornell’s investments against the backdrop of “Environmental, Social, and Governance” standards, according to The Cornell Daily Sun.

Resolution 51, “calls upon the Board of Trustees to divest from companies complicit in committing ‘morally reprehensible actions,’ including perpetrating plausible genocide, maintaining an apartheid state in Occupied Palestine, and perpetuating systemic cruelty to children throughout Palestine during the war.”

The legislation cited a 2016 policy for reviewing investments.

It had the backing of Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, Cornell Young Democratic Socialists of America, and a handful of racial identity groups, such as Black Students United.

Cornell’s Coalition for Mutual Liberation backed the resolution. The organization previously held a mock trial where it charged and convicted President Martha Pollack with “complicity in genocide,” as previously reported by The College Fix.

The resolution cited the New York Ivy League university’s past decisions to divest from Sudan and freeze investments in oil and gas companies. Cornell “holds portfolio and direct investments in corporations that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thereby making Cornell complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law,” the resolution stated.

Its partnerships are also problematic – “BAE Systems, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin…[each] produces weapons used by the state of Israel’s military that have caused unprecedented harm to the civilians in Gaza,” according to the resolution.

The resolution also called for a “ban on any research and development of technologies used by the Israeli armed forces at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech.”

A supporter of the resolution denied that the resolution is anti-Israel.

“[The resolution] is not about Israel or Palestine, Israel or anti-Israel, Zionism or anti-Zionism, Judaism or Islam, nor is it about BDS,” YDS leader Sara Almosawi said, according to the student newspaper. “This is about the University following its rules.”

Senate Assembly member Zora deRham questioned the idea that the resolution is not anti-Israel. “If [the] resolution is not anti-Israel — not about Israel — then why is Israel mentioned 20 times,” she said, as reported by the Cornell student newspaper.

Cornell Hillel opposed the resolution.

The Jewish student organization stated in a petition:

The resolution does not address the hurt felt by students at Cornell over the last four months nor does it do anything to bring the campus together. Instead of attempting to create a campus where all students feel like they belong, the resolution unjustly singles out Israel as the only country deserving of sanctions. Further, it does not recognize the horrific slaughter or torture of Israelis on October 7th. Rather, it lays all the blame for the current war solely on the Jewish state.

…We continue to mourn the loss of life in Israel and Gaza and we continue to pray for the resolution of this war and the return of all hostages. Debating a one-sided and anti-Israel resolution, which holds Israel, and not Hamas, solely responsible for the current situation will do nothing to bring a just resolution to the conflict. Instead, it will continue to marginalize Jewish students and will deepen a climate of intimidation on campus.

The resolution comes as Cornell faces ongoing criticism for its response to campus antisemitism. Professor Russell Rickford took a leave of absence after a video circulated of him in October 2023, saying Hamas’ attacks on Israel were “exhilarating.”

Hamas terrorists attacked innocent civilians on October 7, 2023, sparking a war between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Cornell announced in mid-January that it had opened an investigation into a Cornell student who said “Zionists must die,” in a social media post.

MORE: Board of Trustees backs Cornell president

IMAGE: Cornell’s Coalition for Mutual Liberation/Instagram

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.