Last month, this board asked Student Government to vote down a resolution that offered nothing but obsequious promotion and praise of the State of Israel. We did so not because we disagreed with the political points of the resolution’s proponents but because we felt it was inappropriate for Student Government to meddle in a “foreign policy squabble” such as the ongoing territorial and political disputes between Israel and Palestine.
Now, representatives of the Palestine Solidarity Committee have introduced legislation in Student Government to pressure the University’s investment company into divesting from any company that financially benefits from and is complicit in the occupation of Palestine. The plan is part of a broader platform called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which seeks to stigmatize and isolate Israel into changing its foreign policy, particularly toward the Palestinians, whose lands they continue occupying in defiance of international law. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has also recently backed away from statements supporting the creation of a Palestinian state on that land, as Israel has supported in the abstract for nearly 25 years. Both are serious transgressions that require immediate attention, but Student Government is the wrong place to deal with it because such contentious issues have nothing to do with the stewardship of this University.
With a new SG administration at the helm, this is a time for actually accomplishing real things, not mean-spirited fights over a foreign policy squabble half a world away. SG should vote down this divestment bill, as well as other proposals from the misguided BDS movement. It’s just, in more ways than one, the wrong thing to do.
Correction: An earlier version of this editorial was overly broad in its description of the companies targeted by the legislation currently being considered by Student Government.