Univ. of California student group raps moves to censure boycott efforts


(JTA) – The University of California Student Association voted to condemn attempts to censure boycott and divestment efforts by Palestinian human rights activists.

The unanimous resolution passed Sept. 15 also demands that the university stop profiting from what it termed Israel’s human rights violations.

The student association resolution comes less than a month after the California Assembly approved a resolution calling on colleges and universities in the state to combat anti-Semitism and quash campus demonstrations against Israel. Jewish students reportedly have felt under siege at several University of California campuses, where pro-Palestinian demonstrations are a regular occurrence.

The state resolution, according to the student group, “purports to oppose anti-Semitism,” yet “much of HR 35 is written to unfairly and falsely smear as ‘anti-Semites’ those who do human rights advocacy focusing on Israel’s illegal occupation, alleging that the UC faculty and staff involved in such work are motivated by anti-Semitism rather than by the political ideals of equality and respect for universal human rights they affirm, ideals UCSA and most California students share.”

Jewish students criticized the student association measure, according to the Berkeley campus paper, the Daily Californian.

“The UCSA resolution passed on Saturday blindsided the Jewish community,” Jason Bellet, a senator for Associated Students of the University of California and member of the Berkeley Hillel, told the paper. “When we talk about having a safe and welcoming campus climate, that can’t happen when a bill like the one opposing HR 35 is passed in a nontransparent way, in a way that leaves out members of the community criticizing the process. "

Olamide Noah, the external affairs vice president at the University of California, San Diego, said the student association had been working on the resolution since last month, according to the Daily Californian. 

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