The University of California Student Association has passed a resolution calling on the university to divest itself from several world governments … including its own.
The UCSA considered two divestment resolutions during a meeting at UCLA on Sunday. One of them requested that the UC system divest itself of government bonds issued by the United States, as well as several other countries including Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey and even Sri Lanka. The other told the university to divest from several companies that do business with Israel.
Each resolution passed the student board by a final vote of 9-1, with six members abstaining.
The resolution offered a host of justifications for divesting from the U.S. government, drawn from both foreign and domestic policies:
WHEREAS, The government of the United States of America is engaged in drone strikes that have killed over 2,400 people in Pakistan and Yemen, many of them civilians. The government oversees, by far, the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, and racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement agencies, particularly for drug related offences. 400,000 undocumented immigrants are held in detention centers every year, and millions have been deported since the current Administration took office, and the government is directly supporting and propping up numerous dictatorships around the world with weapons sales and foreign aid.
The justification for each of the other boycotted countries was similar. Russia was condemned for its occupation of the Crimea, Brazil for its poor labor conditions and Turkey even took flak for the long-standing presence of Turkish settlers in northern Cyprus. Naturally, the Israeli divestment resolution was based on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the ongoing presence of settlers in the West Bank.
Miri Kornfeld, a UCLA graduate and the high school program director with StandWithUs, a pro-Israel organization, said that despite a lengthy floor debate between supporters and opponents of the resolutions, the UCSA board was stacked so there was no chance of blocking the resolutions.
“We had walked into the room and we had already lost,” she told The Daily Caller News Foundation. She also said that the overall intent of UCSA in advocating divestment from its own country was baffling to her.
“The UC system is funded by California, and California is funded by the United States. I’m kind of confused about where they think the UC system’s funding is going to come from.”
UCSA’s anti-Israel resolution invited a counter-protest, as dozens of pro-Israel students walked out of the meeting and then assembled outside to wave Israeli and American flags.
At the conservative blog Legal Insurrection, Cornell law professor William Jacobson offered an odd sort of praise for UCSA’s action, noting that at least critics of Israel were finally looking at other countries as well.
“The U. Cal. student government has proven a point I’ve made repeatedly in terms of the academic boycott: If you are going to boycott Israel, then you need to apply those standards to the whole world, which will result in boycotting yourselves,” said Jacobson.
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