In yet another failure of the anti-Israel divestment movement, the Cornell University student government voted on Thursday, April 10, against a Resolution to recommend that the school divest its holdings in Israeli companies.
The vote was 15 in favor of indefinitely tabling the Resolution, eight against tabling the Resolution and one abstention.
William A. Jacobson, a clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School, followed the student efforts closely. He writes an authoritative blog on campus activity regarding Israel, Legal Insurrection. His blog was the source of the most up-to-date and complete information regarding the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israeli academic institutions last year, as it is of so many other fast-paced and ever-multiplying threats against Israel on U.S. campuses.
“I’m very proud of the way the pro-Israel students were able to mobilize so quickly. Now they all can enjoy their Passover holiday,” Jacobson told The Jewish Press by email.
The Cornell professor was referring to the way in which the Divestment Resolution was brought to the Cornell Student Assembly for a vote. As he detailed in a post two days ago, the students, led by the nefarious campus group Students for Justice in Palestine, in a surprise move, inserted the Resolution onto the calendar just two days before,so that it came up for a vote Thursday, April 10, at 4:30 p.m.
Because the Passover holiday begins on Monday, most Jewish students ordinarily would leave for home during the day on Thursday. If the initial Resolution passed, it would mean that the substantive vote would take place the following Thursday, smack in the middle of the Passover holiday.
That cheap and dirty strategic trick, as Jacobson noted in his blog post describing it, was “reminiscent of the exploitation of the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday in 1973 to launch an attack on Israel.”
And just as effective. They lost. By a lot.
WHAT THE RESOLUTION SAID
Cornell Student Assembly Resolution is titled: Resolution Urging Cornell University to Divest from Companies Profiting from Israeli Occupation and Human Rights Violations. That Resolution includes the usual panoply of distortions of truth regarding the situation and hyperbole regarding the “crucial role of students and scholars in finding and advocating for solutions to humanity’s various crises” (but not regarding Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, China or any other genocides or true humanitarian disasters currently taking place around the globe).
As always, the “Occupation” is the root of the only evil they recognize. The students point to the “Occupation,” the Separation Barrier and the Israel Defense Forces as the reasons for the misery of the lives of the Palestinian Arabs.
Sadly, most of the clauses cited in the Cornell Divestment Resolution cites United Nations Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions and International Court of Justice rulings.
Specific companies named in the Resolution include SodaStream, IngersollRand and Raytheon.
The students authors are outraged that “Cornell University has portfolio and direct investments in corporations that profit Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thereby making Cornell a complicit third party in human rights abuses and violations of international law.”
The Resolution concludes like this:
Be it further resolved, that Cornell University will make information about all of its assets public, pertaining especially to its investments;
And be it finally resolved, that Cornell University will end its complicity with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and divest its holdings from the aforementioned companies and any other companies that profit directly from Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Cornell University will not make further investments in companies that materially support or profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
Just to be sure everyone understands, this is the student government of Cornell University. Even if the Resolution passed, the student government has absolutely no power to require the university to follow its directives.
However, the issue never went that far. The pro-Israel students at Cornell mobilized quickly and effectively. And proudly. The video below is of just the vote and the aftermath. It shows how the pro-Israel students showed up in force, sat respectfully, applauded enthusiastically, but not spitefully, and exhibited pride and self-respect. The losers were, in a word, sore.
“Students for Justice in Palestine managed to do something wonderful — unite the Cornell Israel Public Affairs Committee and Cornell J Street U,” Professor Jacobson said.
Watch the video.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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