As the Jewish News Syndicate recently reported, Columbia students are voting on whether the school should “‘divest its stocks, funds and endowment from companies that profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s acts towards Palestinians’ that, according to the student group Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), ‘fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.'”

Investment decisions notwithstanding, this vote is yet another shameless attempt to smear the Jewish state with baseless accusations, falsely portraying it as a pariah that violates international norms.

The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid unequivocally stresses the racial nature of apartheid, specifying that, for the Convention’s purposes, the crime “shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa” and involves “acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

In no way does this describe Israel. Every Israeli citizen – regardless of race – is treated equally under the law. In what is supposedly the “apartheid” state of Israel, there are/is free elections for all citizens, a free press, full religious freedom, Arab legislators in the Knesset, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Ministry, Arab generals in the Israel Defense Forces, and Arab judges. Notably, it was an Arab District Court judge (George Karra) who sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katzav to jail, and an Arab Supreme Court Justice who upheld the sentence (Salim Joubran).

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza live under the purview of the Palestinian Authority and the US-designated terrorist organization Hamas, respectively, which are entirely different geographic and political entities.

The Columbia community should see through this sham. Referendums such as these are ideologically rooted in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose leaders have proudly stated their true goal: end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

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