UC Irvine student gov’t unanimously passes divestment bill challenging Israel’s human rights abuses

Almost two years after the Irvine 11 unprecedentedly faced criminal charges for verbally disrupting a speech by Israel ambassador Michael Oren, the student government at the University of California, Irvine passed a divestment resolution with a 16-0-0 vote.

The resolution, penned and proposed by UC Irvine students, requires the university to divest from corporations and businesses profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and its systematic abuse of human rights. These companies include Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, among others.

The elected undergraduate student representatives also see the resolution as an opportunity for the university to engage and mobilize students to “protect human rights on a global scale,” according to Traci Ishigo, President of the Associated Student of UC Irvine.

UC Irvine is now the first university in California poised to divest from Israeli apartheid and occupation.

This divestment success carries great significance given the fact that students have faced a tremendous amount of anti-Palestinian pressure after Oren’s lecture was interrupted. A recent campus climate report proposed and funded by pro-Israel lobby groups urged the University of California system to crack down on groups and events that criticize Israel, alleging that activism for Palestinian civil and human rights is anti-Semitic and that pro-Palestine activity “threatens and endangers the health and safety of University of California’s Jewish students.”

Ironically enough, Ynet News characterized UC Irvine as a hotbed for pro-Israel activity just eight days before this divestment resolution passed. And, from what I understand, literally hours before news of the unanimous vote to adopt the resolution broke, President of the Zionist Organization of America Morton Klein authored a letter citing his appreciation that “most of the Boycott, Sanctions and Investment (BDS) campaigns have been largely unsuccessful at numerous campuses across America.” Had he submitted his letter just a short while later, he’d be even more unable to justify this claim.

UC Irvine’s divestment resolution is modeled after the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel to force it to comply with international law and human rights standards. Similar resolutions have passed at Hampshire College and Evergreen State College in prior years.

Presently, students from a variety of universities are preparing similar divestment resolutions. A number of campuses throughout the country have also adopted the WeDivest campaign seeking to pressure pension fund giant TIAA-CREF to divest from many of the same companies documented in the UC Irvine resolution. New York University has already seen great success in this campaign and Loyola University Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago are following suit.

Click here to read the press release announcing the UC Irvine divestment resolution success.


There are 7 comments

    1. Andy Hay

      It is responses like this that show the ignorance of those opposing action like this. It has nothing what so ever to do with hating Jews but rather for loving justice and equality for all be they Jew or Palestinian.
      It harks back to the bad old days when anyone who said anything against Israel or Zionist was called anti Semetic rather than realising it has nothing to do with being anti Jew, only the behaviour that the most famous Jew of his day Einstein warned of when he refused to support the Zionists of his day when they wrote and asked him to. He wasn’t an anti-Semite and neither are we, we have just found our voice to say justice for all including Jews and Arabs.

  1. M

    I’m confused…you are celebrating boycotting a country based on information that is 100% false? Before making such “bills”, you should consider where you are getting your information from. Perhaps you should consider who attacks whom first, or what the media chooses to report selectively rather than giving you the entire picture. Cheer all you want, but know that it is complete and utter lies that you are advocating. It’s sad to see people so consumed with hatred when they don’t even know the truth. You should be ashamed of your yourselves.

    1. Andy Hay

      and where would you advocate getting the information from?
      Mainstream media has a bias to pro Israeli reporting so Israel always gets the benefit of the doubt, it is harder to get the truth if you don’t want to swallow the propaganda we are fed. One benefit of the internet is we can get the information from more sources and see that the information that this is based on isn’t 100% false, and as to who attacks whom first, this has been going on for decades and so for a quick history lessons, the Palestinians and other Arabs welcomed and supported the Jews who returned up until the time they started a terrorist campaign to take over and also drive out the British. This campaign included the first bombing of a hotel by a terrorist group, sorry group of freedom fighters, but whatever they were called they killed innocent civilians. Since then they have been driving out and oppressing those who had welcomed them and who had been living there for thousands of years. Not surprisingly they are still upset about this and the continued restrictive conditions they live under and the regular death of innocent civilians and the checkpoints and the separate roads in their own land and the illegal settlements and the blockade and the….. I could go on and you would say they are all reasonable measure for the protection of Israel and I would say they have failed to protect Israel, are failing and will continue to fail and should be opposed by all those who believe in justice and equality. Not anti Jew, not anti Semite, just pro justice and equality and increasingly the loudest voices are those of Jews who are rejecting the Zionist Political Philosophy and wanting Israel to be a country where justice is blind and they learn to live with their neighbours rather than threaten and oppress them all the time.

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