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UCLA Student Govt. Passes Antisemitic BDS Resolution in Middle of the Night to Avoid Any Opposition

UCLA Student Government 2020-2021 all voted in favor of the antisemitic resolution.

UPDATE March 5th: The UCLA student government sent an apology to Hillel at UCLA over the resolution being “inadvertently hidden from the Jewish community and the public at large” and that the student government will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Going forward we hope to work with student leaders in Hillel and in all spaces on campus to ensure that USAC [UCLA Students Association Council] is a safe space for debate and dialogue on important issues on our agendas,” they wrote.

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The UCLA student government passed a resolution on March 3rd alleging that the Israeli government is committing “ethnic cleansing” against the Palestinians.

The Journal obtained a copy of the resolution, titled “A Resolution Calling for the UC to Divest from War.” The resolution called for the University of California system to divest from “the war industry” and for “the university to sever itself from companies that engage or aid in the oppression of any people.”

But what Jewish groups and students have taken issue with is that the resolution states that divestment is a legitimate tool to fight against injustice, citing “South African apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing in Palestine by the Israeli government.” The resolution also promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution passed by the UCLA student government in 2014.

“We had no idea this resolution was coming up, and were not alerted by anyone ahead of time,” Aaron Ahdoot, president of Bruins for Israel Public Affairs Committee at UCLA, told the Journal. “The language of the resolution was not released ahead of the council meeting, making it impossible for any of the students to speak out on it.”

He added that the resolution apparently passed with a unanimous vote. “My sense is that many of the councilmembers likely didn’t think much about the impact of the resolution. Palestine was listed among many other conflicts, and with a general consensus that ‘war’ is a bad thing, they weren’t going to oppose it, especially at these meetings that can run many hours long.”

Rabbi Aaron Lerner, Executive Director of Hillel at UCLA, wrote in an email to community members that the resolution “follows the familiar pattern of seeking to delegitimize Israel within broader language. The resolution was deliberately hidden from Jewish students, preventing them from engaging in the debate.”

Lerner argued that pro-Israel students have been largely been victorious in the battles against anti-Israel forces on campus since 2015, pointing to how UCLA Chancellor Gene Block as well as the UC Regents have spoken out against the BDS movement.

“In this context, it’s not surprising that the resolution’s proponents hid it from Jewish and pro-Israel student leaders by not releasing the language ahead of time, preventing us from countering their inaccurate and one-sided rhetoric,” Lerner wrote. “The passage of such a resolution is invalid and antidemocratic.”

He concluded: “We will continue to share our love for our ancestral homeland, and even engage in dialogue about its imperfections. We will not, however, accept vitriolic attempts to delegitimize and destroy the nation we yearned for over the past two millennia.”

Judea Pearl, chancellor professor of Computer Science at UCLA, National Academy of Sciences member and Daniel Pearl Foundation president, said in a statement to the Journal that the resolution “raises an interesting question: Is the use of slanderous and defamatory language against a cherished identity symbol for thousands of students on campus compatible with the norms of respectful discourse that UCLA aspires to set on campus?”

Ricardo Vazquez, Director of Media Relations at UCLA, said in a statement to the Journal, “The UC system, including UCLA, has repeatedly expressed opposition to boycotting, sanctioning or divesting from Israeli institutions and remains firmly committed to that position.”