Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
LOS ANGELES (JTA) — The University of California, Los Angeles student government held a hearing in response to a complaint leveled against two student council members over free trips they took to Israel.
The UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine brought the complaint against the two former members of the Undergraduate Students Association Council that led to Thursday’s hearing before the USAC’s Judicial Board.
The complaint accused the two students of violating the council’s conflict of interest policy for failing to disclose that they had taken sponsored trips to Israel before a council vote on a divestment resolution targeting Israel.
The Judicial Board has two weeks to decide the case.
The hearing came shortly after SJP and four other pro-Palestinian campus groups urged candidates in student government elections to sign a pledge promising not to accept trips to Israel sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League or Hasbara Fellowships.
The candidates on two of the three major party slates signed the pledge, including the person who went on to be elected student body president.
The complaint before the Judicial Board dates back to a February vote in which the student council voted down a resolution urging the University of California system to divest from several corporations accused of profiting from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The resolution was voted down, 7-5.
Similar resolutions have come up for votes at other campuses in the University of California system with mixed results.
The two former members of the student council, Sunny Singh and Lauren Rogers, defended themselves against charges that they should have abstained from voting on the resolution because each had taken a trip to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations — Singh’s by the ADL, and Rogers’ by the American Jewish Committee. Neither Singh nor Rogers is Jewish.
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