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University of Illinois student government approves anti-Israel, anti-ICE resolution

UPDATED

Twice rejected in student body votes

Backed by half the student senate’s leadership committee, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s student government approved a resolution demanding divestment from companies that serve Israel and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Jewish News Syndicate reports that it names companies including Elbit Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. They are complicit in “the confiscation and destruction of Palestinian lands, criminalization of immigrants and communities of color, and other human rights violations,” making the university “complicit.”

The early Thursday morning vote, after six hours of deliberation, was 20 in favor and nine against, with seven abstentions. The report says an amendment to remove all references to Israel failed 11-22-6. It’s not clear how many times the resolution mentions Israel, as JNS did not post the copy it obtained.

The student body president later vetoed the resolution, JNS reported, meaning it would need a two-thirds vote by senators to override. The administration also said publicly it had “no plans to act” on the nonbinding student resolution.

Student leaders who endorsed the resolution include government affairs chair Kirsten Peterson, internal affairs chair Katrina Rbeiz, campus affairs chair Alexis Perezchica, financial affairs chair Jessica Tiggelaar and sustainability chair Bugra Sahin.

MORE: UIUC student government defends anti-Zionism

There’s also an administration connection: intercollegiate athletics staffer Shelby Sears endorsed the resolution. 

Critics of the resolution noted that the student body itself, rather than the student government, had twice rejected boycott, divestment and sanctions resolutions in recent years.

“BDS was only able to pass this time because the system was manipulated in the senate after ISG was stacked with anti-Israel students,” Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, co-director of Chabad at UIUC, told JNS. “We know this vote does not represent the values and beliefs of students and faculty at the University of Illinois.”

The student government previewed its action when it approved a resolution last fall denouncing comparisons between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Chancellor Robert Jones had publicly criticized a residence-hall presentation on “Palestinian Resistance to 70 Years of Israeli Terror,” which the resolution claimed “had no Anti-Semitic content in it.”

The approved resolution “is indicative of a disturbing trend of anti-Semitism at UIUC,” Avi Gordon executive director of Alums for Campus Fairness, told JNS, calling on administrators to “respond appropriately.”

Read the reports.

UPDATE: The student body president vetoed the resolution after it was approved, and the administration said it had no plans to act on it. The material has been added.

MORE: UIUC students reject BDS resolution

IMAGE: Lobroart / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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