Student Government should stay out of Israel debate

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At some point last week, SG Representative Meredith Rotwein was rumored to be proposing a resolution promoting the relationship between the University and the State of Israel. It flew in the face of precedent for SG to wade into a foreign policy issue with little relevance to them and was subsequently withdrawn before the agenda for Tuesday's meeting was sent out.

However, in a breach of decorum, the rules were then suspended at the meeting, and representatives voted to send it to the Student Affairs Committee. Unlike typical resolutions, this idea was never sent out by the SG Clerk on a public agenda for examination and scrutiny by the University community and the general public.

Absent our opinion on the underlying quandary, this is not a mature or responsible way to handle such a controversial issue. If Rotwein and the resolution's other sponsors cannot pass this measure honestly, they shouldn't suspend the rules to pass it otherwise.

On the more central question of the content of the resolution, we similarly think the proposal is an incorrect course of action. The University's Student Government should stay out of foreign policy squabbles as much as possible, including the ostensible diplomatic missions of the University. More than any specific problem with the resolution's contents itself, which praises the work UT does with pertinent institutes of higher education in Israel, this is our main disagreement. 

The only precedent at all in recent history is a resolution from last semester that urged the administration to divest from the genocidal regime in the Republic of Sudan.

Admittedly, we endorsed that resolution. But in that instance, the University of Texas Investment Management Company was continuing to invest in energy companies doing business in Sudan. That is, the resolution's aim was to remove a stain from UT's reputation. 

This legislation, on the other hand, would achieve nothing of the sort. Until that changes, there is absolutely no reason for SG to get involved.

There are a plethora of valid opinions regarding this country's relationship with Israel, as well as the overarching Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many people on the 40 Acres, including the resolution's sponsors and other supporters, have such opinions. 

But SG simply is the wrong place to voice them. And trying to push through the measure with limited opportunity for campus community members to review it is definitely not the way to voice them. SG should vote down this unfortunate resolution.