Israel divestment resolutions overturned at U.C. Riverside, defeated at U.C. Santa Barbara

The U.C. Riverside student government has overturned a recent student senate resolution that urged the U.C. system to implement Israel divestment.

When the resolution — titled “Divestment of Companies that Profit from Apartheid” — passed in early March, opponents argued that they were not given time to prepare for the vote.

“There was not enough time or opportunity among senators to discuss the resolution … and there was not a presentation of the issue from both perspectives,” student senator Megan Crail, who voted against the resolution March 6, told the campus Highlander News.

This prompted the student government to revisit the resolution on April 3. At a campus auditorium filled to capacity, speakers from both sides presented arguments for and against the resolution, according to student Jackie Zelener, co-president of the university’s Highlanders for Israel, Hillel president, and Emerson Fellow for the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs.

Following the presentations, the student government voted 10-2 to rescind the resolution.

“I am proud of our community for working together through all of this. Hopefully this will be a steppingstone for peaceful dialogue in the future,” said Zelener.

Meanwhile, in a meeting at U.C. Santa Barbara that begin the night of April 10 and didn’t until 8 a.m the next morning, according to one report, students senators voted to reject a similar divest-from-Israel resolution. Needing two-thirds majority to pass, the final tally was 11 votes against divestment, 10 in favor and one abstention, according to several sources.

The pro-Israel education group StandWithUs issued a statement April 11, saying: “StandWithUs congratulates the pro-Israel students at U.C. Santa Barbara for their victory this morning over the BDS movement. UCSB student leaders worked tirelessly to defeat a divestment resolution that unfairly singled out and condemned Israel. Their courage and determination paid off … StandWithUs is proud of student leaders who showed that by challenging lies with the facts and passionately stating the case for Israel, you can overcome a smear campaign.”

The divestment resolutions at U.C. Riverside and U.C. Santa Barbara were part of an ongoing global effort by anti-Israel activists on college campuses that has hit California state schools particularly hard.

In late 2012, U.C. Irvine passed a similar divestment resolution. More recently, the student council at U.C. San Diego and the student union at Canada’s York University passed divestment resolutions.

Meanwhile, student bodies at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University and Oxford University have rejected similar resolutions.

J. staff contributed to this report.