Contributed by CAMERA Fellow Jeremy Ginsberg
For the third year in a row, BDS came during spring quarter at UC Santa Barbara, and I am glad to say that it was defeated in only one meeting instead of in the multiple senate meetings my fellow students have seen for the past two years.
This defeat came after nine hours of public comment and senate deliberations, which were filled with misinformation and straight-up lies about Israel. While this can be thought of as a victory, it feels hollow after the AS Senate vote ended in a 12-12 tie, broken only by Internal Vice President Angela Lau. It disgusts me that students think it is okay to spew anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments while claiming to champion human rights.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) even had the audacity to claim their bill wasn’t anti-Semitic. What is bothersome is that the week before, UCSB passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, yet a disturbing amount of the pro-divestment comments which fit that definition in the resolution were included in the bill. A student senator even claimed that other senators were afraid of voting for divestment so they wouldn’t lose the “Jewish vote.”
The pro-Israel community was prepared to defeat this bill; ready for whatever could happen. Once we got word of divestment coming, we convened a meeting of the Jewish student leaders right after Spring Break. Due to the uncertainty of when the bill would actually come to a vote, we prepared for multiple scenarios. We set up multiple meetings with community members and students to keep them aware of the situation, and when we found out that the divestment meeting was to be held, we made sure that we disseminated and mobilize our supporters to attend the meeting. After months of lobbying senators, and weeks of prepping for the actual meeting, the anti-divestment students seemed very confident in the bills defeat.
Many that had never attended a divestment meeting were horrified at the slanderous remarks of the pro-divestment students. For a side that claims to want peace and rights for all, it seems that they do not care for the security of any Israeli. SJP only claims human rights for all when they want to be endorsed by any organization that champions human rights. They only want the headlines, as every student knows that the UC system will not divest any funds from Israel or companies in Israel but they continue this assault every year in hopes one day it passes. They do this so that they can claim a victory for the BDS movement, and in the meantime poisoning the minds of any student that shallowly believes what they are being told.
BDS must be stopped and can only be stopped when SJP is exposed for being the poisonous anti-Semitic organization that it is and not allowed on campus. The Jewish and Israel community on our campus has always been open to dialogue with the other side of this conflict but all SJP has done is bring bill after useless divestment bill.
They continue to harass our students and increase the rift between us, behavior that only breeds anti-Semitic sentiment and may lead to actions such as the swastikas that were painted on Jewish buildings at Stanford and UC Davis. Fortunately I will not be here next year to see a fourth attempt at divestment at UCSB, but I am confident the anti-divestment students here are strong, confident, and ready to defend Israel on campus for yet another year.
To learn more about BDS, visit the Divest This blog.