by David Isaac
On Sunday, University of Minnesota students passed an anti-Israel BDS divestment resolution. The forces playing out against Israel on a global scale found their local avatars at UMN. The Jews in this case were represented by the school’s campus Hillel, which, learning of the proposed resolution only on March 2nd, made an admirable, if doomed, effort to prevent it.
The Arabs, or Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), naturally were behind the pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) resolution. And the self-hating Jews who gave the Arabs cover from charges of antisemitism were represented by a local chapter of IfNotNow, a national group of leftwing Jews whose goal is to “end the occupation.”
Peter Beinart dubbed IfNotNow the “Jewish Black Lives Matter.” A glance at the Minnesota chapter’s Facebook page tells you all you need to know, with endless handwringing posts expressing support for professional Arab protester Ahed Tamimi, but none for Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, stabbed to death in February. IfNotNow’s moralizing is selective.
Intersectionality at Play
There was even a kind of mini-United Nations, thanks to SJP’s effective use of the idea of intersectionality, a sociological theory whose practical application is to unite various supposed victims’ groups which otherwise have nothing in common. SJP garnered support from a number of such organizations, including the La Raza Student Cultural Center, the Queer Student Cultural Center, the Asian-American Student Union and the Black Student Union.
SJP activists insert themselves into other issues. Credit: NSJP/Facebook
The resolution called for the Board of Regents to pull its investments from certain companies including Raytheon, G4S and Boeing. The resolution itself read: “Should the students of the University of Minnesota demand the Board of Regents divest from companies that are 1) complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, 2) maintaining and establishing private prisons and immigrant detention centers, or 3) violating Indigenous sovereignty?”
Hillel’s complaints that the wording of the resolution only presented “arguments for voting ‘yes’ with no opportunity for opposing viewpoints” fell on deaf ears.
The vote passed by 217 votes: 3,392 to 3,175.
In a replay of history in general, while Jews are quick to defend the rights of others, when it comes to their own rights they soon find themselves isolated, alone and abandoned to their fate.
Campus Antisemitism on Rise
The BDS resolution has increased anti-Jewish sentiment on campus. Minnesota Hillel President Leeore Levinstein said that the referendum “has bred discrimination and silencing of the Jewish community.” UMN President Eric Kaler even said that the resolution was “fueling discrimination toward Jewish students.”
UMN’s tight-knit Hillel did their best. Credit: UMN Hillel/Facebook
Indeed, according to the AMCHA Initiative there have been 26 accounts of anti-Semitic activity at the University of Minnesota since SJP launched an earlier divestment campaign at the school in 2016. That one Hillel successfully torpedoed.
As The Algeimeiner’s campus reporter Shiri Moshe notes in her report on the resolution: “Studies have shown that activity related to BDS and the presence of an SJP branch are each strong predicators that a campus suffers from a hostile climate toward both Jews and Israel.”
Reports, alas, that BDS is on its way out on American campuses are premature.
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Photo Credit: UMN Hillel/Facebook