On Monday, March 16, students piled into Northeastern University’s Hillel to meet and discuss the upcoming BDS vote in NU’s student government. The meeting opened with the director of Hillel, Arinne Braverman, offering words of encouragement for the outcome of the vote. Students, as well as community professionals from CAMERA, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Anti-Defamation League, the David Project, and StandWithUs, spoke out against the BDS referendum, talking to students about the dangers and true goals of the boycott, divest, and sanction movement across the US. The President of Huskies for Israel, Elizabeth Levi, spoke about her desire to unite the student population at NU to create a dialogue and work together towards peace.
The referendum desired to divest from companies that operate in the disputed territories in Judea and Samaria. Nine senators voted in favor of the resolution, and 25 opposed it, with 14 abstentions. The vote and hearing was closed to the public due to fire code regulations, but two senators spoke out against the bill that would, as many students at Hillel and in communities across the country understand, divide the student body in an environment where dialogue of all kind should be welcome and encouraged.
The strong response to thwart divestment at universities is a celebration in the recent months of schools such as UC Davis and Northwestern University passing anti-Israel legislation through their student governments. NU Hillel released a statement citing that “the outcome of the vote is welcome news to our Jewish student leaders, who feel justifiably proud of all the hard work they have put into lobbying, advocacy, educational efforts, strategy sessions, late night communications, and social media efforts. I particularly wish to recognize the student senators who advocated for this resolution’s defeat tonight, including yielding time to other senators so that the points that were so effective in persuading their peers that this would be harmful for our campus community could be made.”