Late last night, November 13, there was a unanimous vote at a California school for divestment from certain companies that do business with Israel. Unanimous, 16 -0.
There are, however, several points militating against an uptick in alarm.
For one thing, the school at which this took place was the University of California at Irvine. Yes, the school that allowed students to repeatedly disrupt Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, in 2010. Eleven of those hooligans were charged and convicted of conspiracy and disrupting a public meeting. Those convictions were obtained despite the efforts of many UCIrvine faculty members, including a large number of Jewish Studies department faculty.
But more importantly, the vote was taken by the UC Irvine Student Government, which, in all likelihood, does not have any investments in the targeted companies, or any other companies, for that matter.
The student government also called on the UC Irvine administration to divest from the named companies, but a student group’s call on its university to take the students’ investment advice is not exactly like money in (or, in this case, out of) the bank.
While the vote was really the equivalent of a small group of children shouting at those acting in loco parentis to take its investment advice, last night’s effort by anti-Israel student leadership at UCI is noteworthy for a small shift in tactic.
Although the Resolution repeatedly compared Israeli activity to Apartheid South Africa, the student government Resolution only sought divestment from those companies it deemed to provide support for the Security Fence, the demolition of “Palestinian” homes, and the building or maintenance of the “illegal Israeli settlements” on “occupied Palestinian territory.” In the past, calls for divestment from Israel typically called for divestment from any company doing business in Israel, which was the South Africa Apartheid divestment model.
The nitty gritty details, that is, that it was a student group that voted to divest its own (non-existent) financial holdings from certain companies – and was not the vote by a university to divest its holdings from companies doing business in Israel – was completely lost on most other media reporting on the vote. Professional Israel haters such as Ali Abunimeh and Noam Chomsky were quick to add their support, as were Muslim Student Associations and other anti-Israel groups across the country. To see the misguided glee, check on twitter #IrvineDivest.
The Resolution, which was introduced by Sabreen Shalabi, and seconded by Shadi Jafari, follows:
Item Number: 16 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R48-15 Synopsis: Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid Date of Presentation: November 13, 2012 Divestment from Companies that Profit from ApartheidWHEREAS, it is UC Irvine’s duty to maintain the values of “respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, and empathy” which includes the promotion of human rights, equality, and dignity for all people without distinction;WHEREAS, it is the mission of the UCI Foundation to “ensure the appropriate use of all funds” in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy;WHEREAS, students have a legacy of standing against oppression and injustice at UC Irvine and across the U.S.;WHEREAS, the role of student activists in exposing South Africa’s apartheid system and supporting equality, freedom, and dignity sets an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;WHEREAS, as the example of South Africa shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including but not limited to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, patriarchy, and Israel’s system of apartheid;WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territory is controlled militarily by the Israeli government;WHEREAS, certain companies have promoted and been complicit in these ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah, Badil, and the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions;WHEREAS, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”;WHEREAS, according to the same ICJ decision, the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem is also illegal by international law; Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Caesarea Golf Club will host the 3rd Annual Ezer Mizion Golf Classic tournament on Wednesday, November 21. The popular event, which is due to attract serious golfers and philanthropists from the United States, Canada and Israel, will raise funds for Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the global Jewish bone marrow donor registry.
Ezer Mizion, a non-profit organization that provides a wide variety of professional services and programs to the ill, handicapped and elderly in Israel, is best known for their numerous activities on behalf of cancer patients around the world. The organization’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the fourth largest international registry, has facilitated hundreds of life-saving stem cell transplants.
“For many individuals suffering from cancer or other life-threatening diseases, a stem cell transplant offers the only chance for survival. As such, it is essential that we promote international awareness of our registry and raise the funds necessary to keep this lifeline strong,” said Rabbi Chananya Chollak, Founder and International Chairman of Ezer Mizion.
“We established this annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition at the Caesarea Golf Club to give North American supporters of Ezer Mizion an opportunity to escape the winter weather and join their Anglo-Israeli counterparts on the golf course to express their solidarity and promote this serious cause in a relaxed atmosphere.”
Several special guests will participate in this year’s tournament, including Eliezer Shkedi, CEO of EL AL Israel Airlines, and Ran Saar, CEO of Maccabi Health Services.
“Ezer Mizion’s efforts to support those in need are legendary, and the number of individuals saved via their bone marrow registry is simply staggering. It is our greatest honor to be partnering with them in this effort to rally international support for this vital cause,” said Andy Santos, Caesarea Golf Club’s head golf pro and spokesman.
Since its establishment in 1998, Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry has grown to include close to 650,000 potential stem cell donors. The registry, which is affiliated with the National Bone Marrow Donor Program and is a member of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, has handled thousands of search requests from transplant centers in 48 countries and has made nearly 5,000 complete donor-patient matches.
Following the tournament, participants will enjoy a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Dan Hotel Caesarea.Jewish Press News Briefs
Some 4,000 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and communal leaders from more than 75 countries gathered in New York for their 29th international conference.
Many of the rabbis attending the conference over the weekend brought relief supplies and funds from their communities around the world to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, and volunteered their time for relief efforts.
Highlights of the conference included a visit to the gravesite of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson; a group picture in front of the Chabad-Lubavitch worldwide headquarters in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn; and the annual banquet featuring an international roll call.
Conference workshops included topics such as helping people through the global economic crisis; expanding the horizons of college campus outreach; and multi-sensory approaches to Jewish education.JTA
We salute President Obama on his solid reelection victory. Though we were highly critical of his performance these past four years in a variety of areas, we hope he succeeds in his second term, as his success is America’s success.
The challenges of the next four years will be the same had Mr. Romney prevailed. We have an economy headed toward disaster with out of control spending, spiraling deficits, limited growth and high unemployment. Iran’s threat to peace and international security continues, as do the provocations of terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanon and other parts of the world.
We hope the president will focus on these fundamental bread and butter problems and eschew any grand, Pollyannaish visions of changing the world. Only a strong and resilient America with its own house in order can reach out to help others.Editorial Board
One of the world’s largest land warfare expos featured Israeli company Al-Sorag from Moshav Emunin this year as one of the participants, being handpicked by the AUSA (Association of the United States Army).
Taking place from October 22-24 in Washington DC, the highest level US and international military officials and experts made up some of the 35,000 attendees, mingling between over 700 military and industry exhibits.
Al-Sorag, which is Israel’s biggest and most veteran company in defending buildings from vandalism, terrorism, and violence, presented a 15-square-meter exhibit showcasing advanced protection solutions including home front and civil defense products which would provide protection to buildings and places of strategic importance in the event of severe attack, all the while cutting costs through energy conservation.Malkah Fleisher
Israel deported 15 international protesters arrested for trying to infiltrate an Israeli security zone set up around Gaza with their flotilla, Estelle.
Infiltrators hailed from Greece, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Canada.
Israeli naval commandos boarded Estelle on October 20. Estelle is Swedish-owned, Finnish-flagged.
The attempt follows in the wake of the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists who claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in May 2010. When Israeli commandos boarded the illegal vessel, they were attacked by the activists who stabbed several and beat others with pipes and sticks. Defending themselves against the attackers, soldiers killed nine Turkish activists before quelling the attack.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman urged the European Union on Saturday to focus on its own problems and stay out of the local dispute between Arabs and Jews over the future of Judea, Samaria, and the rest of Israel.
Vice President of the EU’s European Commission Catherine Ashton said on Friday that she “deeply regrets” Israel’s plans to expand the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.
“Settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible,” she said.
Lieberman replied on Saturday that her statements “attest to a fundamental lack of ability to understand regional reality” and “merely encourage the Palestinian side … to pursue anti-Israel activity in the international sphere”.
He suggested the EU “focus, for now, on the problems arising among the various peoples and national groups on Europe’s territory, and once there is a successful solution we would be happy to hear recommendations for solving the problems with the Palestinians”.Malkah Fleisher
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