Sometimes we have to report about the worst of anti-Israel activity. Here is a statement from Kelsey Kimmes, President of CAMERA-supported group 49ers for Israel, at California State University, Long Beach.
“Today my campus disappointed me, it shamed me. Our student ASI voted to advance the most hateful, divisive, discriminatory, anti-Semitic piece of legislation that I have ever had the misfortune to see on this campus. I sat on the senate. During my tenure as a senator I fought endlessly to represent all of my constituents, not just a minority. I fought to make sure that everyone of my students rights were protected and validated. Today the senate decided that only Palestinian students on campus are entitled to human rights. Jewish students, Israeli students, and Middle-Eastern LGBTQ+ students, who all depend on Israel to walk free, were long story short, found not to be equally protected by our ASI.
Jewish students and their supporters gathered and spoke, passionately and from the soul, in the 45 and 30 second increments that they were allotted to speak, valiantly trying to explain their human worth. The student Senate was not swayed. When the resolution denigrating Israeli and Jewish students was forwarded, sobs echoed from the walls. This is the point when I have to point out that human rights matter. Everyone’s human rights matter. No one’s rights supersede anyone else’s. There was a bipartisan, non-divisive way that the Senate could have gone about this resolution today. The Palestinian students that comprise a large swath of the Senate had no intention of passing a resolution that didn’t target the Jewish students. They wasted no time in targeting them after the vote either.
Gathered outside, one Palestinian supporter told a Jewish girl with tears streaming down her face, that he didn’t talk to terrorists. Then some thirty of them gathered on the stairs and proceeded to chant, “Allah al-Akbar, Allah al-Akbar, Allah al-Akbar.” This resolution was not about human rights. This was part of long running concerted effort on university campuses to incite anti-Semitism and delegitimize the State of Israel. Never have I been so ashamed as a student at this school. Never have I, a Jewish student, ever felt so targeted. “
Kelsey also wrote this opinion piece prior to the BDS vote passing and subsequent discrimination on campus in the Cal State campus newspaper, the Daily 49er:
From a former senator to a current position holder
As a Cal State Long Beach senior, I’ve had time to reflect on the impact our university has had on us, and in turn, what kind of impact we’ve made on the university. I leave this place with incredible memories: the good, the bad, and the many lessons along the way.
I gained a wealth of knowledge here at CSULB, thanks to my acting and political science classes, learning and sharing experiences in Jewish life, and representing my fellow classmates on our student senate. Being a student senator was one of my most memorable experiences during my time here.
So while I have always felt proud of my time on student senate, last week, my fellow representatives let me down. They brought forth a proposal for our University to boycott, divest from, and sanction companies connected to Israel.
This all might sound strangely familiar to you. That’s because this controversial and divisive issue was already debated on our campus, during the spring of last year. Last spring, wiser heads prevailed and the resolution was amended to protect marginalized people, no matter their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sex, or sexual orientation.
So why, when this debate has already been had, are we discussing it again just a year later? Why does the resolution only target Israel when it purports to be about universal human rights? Why are there no mentions of the atrocities in Russia, Syria, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia? Why are there no demands to boycott, divest from, and sanction companies that prop up dictatorial regimes around the world?
If the sentiment of those bringing this motion forward was sincere, they’d have included in this debate the countless atrocities happening around the world. But they did not. And it reveals their true intentions: a veiled assault on the very right for Israel to exist wrapped up under the guise of universal human rights.
Furthermore, not only is this proposal a repeat of last year’s debate, it’s a waste of time and resources, which could be dedicated to things that directly impact student life on campus. Our student representatives could be working to address rising parking costs, tuition increases, the lack of healthy and affordable food options, our insufficient mental health services, and more. These are the issues that affect our student body, and these are the issues they should be focused on.
CSULB prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive community. This divestment resolution is counterproductive to fostering those values. BDS is extremely divisive, and it incites anti-Jewish sentiments, which we’ve already seen on our campus. This resolution marginalizes and targets Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel students, which is not something our campus should tolerate. I’m grateful President Conoley condemns this hostile resolution, which makes me, a Jewish, Pro-Israel student feel targeted.
I hope that my fellow students and representatives see that this proposal is nothing but an effort to delegitimize the State of Israel. These continued attempts to boycott Israel are divisive on campus and counterproductive to any lasting peace in the Middle East. It also incites anti-Jewish sentiments on campus. BDS has no place on our campus. I hope that everyone can see through this veiled attack against Israel and question why we’re rehashing the same debate we had one year ago.
BDS simply has no place on our campus. This resolution has sparked a divisive and hostile debate from social media all the way to the senate floor. While it is comforting to see President Conoley standing up for our community, I sincerely hope that our student representatives will do the same.”
This article was originally published in the Daily 49er, the campus newspaper of CSULB.
Contributed by Kelsey Kimmes, President of CAMERA-supported group 49ers for Israel at California State University, Long Beach