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Petition, potential ASSU bill spark divestment debate

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the Daily incorrectly reported the vote count on the 2007 ASSU divestment bill as five votes against, three in favor, and five abstentions. In fact, five Senators voted in favor, three against, and five abstained. The bill did not pass because it did not win the necessary two-thirds majority vote.

A years-old debate is rising again regarding student efforts to lobby the University to divest from companies thought to be contributing to human rights violations in Israel.

Students supporting divestment and students proposing investment in human aid projects in the region have organized campaigns whose public presence has grown visibly over the last week, fueled by a potential ASSU bill and a flyer campaign. The debate recalls past battles over divestment at Stanford — one decades ago against apartheid in South Africa and another three years ago, when the Undergraduate Senate voted on but failed to pass a bill asking the University trustees to reevaluate Stanford’s investment choices.

Senate Dissolution Postponed

On Tuesday, the Senate voted down a bill that would dissolve the current Senate on May 11 to make way for the senators-elect, effectively postponing the transfer of office until the eighth week of the quarter, two weeks behind schedule.

Although senators cited reasons such as finalization of appropriations transfers, a green events checklist and an ethics bills as rationales for postponing the switch, Senator Mohammad Ali ’10 called the postponement mere “political theater” and said the real reason for waiting was to avoid letting the new Senate vote on a potential divestment bill.

As dictated by its bylaws, the Senate is required to wait a week before passing new legislation, and since the Senate is not required to meet past the ninth week of the quarter, the postponement of dissolution bars the incoming Senate from passing any legislation before the end of the academic year.

Although no divestment bill has actually been authored, organizers of Campaign Restore Hope (CRH), a campaign for divestment from four specific companies in the region, have made their intentions clear by distributing petitions to many dorms on campus.

The petition asked students to write a sentence of support for the initiative and to deliver the petition to their “dorm representative or RA.” Its listed goals included “[passing] an ASSU bill urging our University to disinvest from these companies.” The petition also lists four specific companies — two Israeli, one Egyptian and one Palestinian, according to Fadi Quran ‘10, a CRH organizer.

Quran said CRH hopes to introduce a bill to the incoming Senate. He characterized the senators-elect as more likely to pass the bill than the current Senate, calling current senators “more isolationist,” or more likely to deal strictly with campus issues.

“I think most of the incoming senators truly care about human rights issues, and I think they’ll probably support the bill,” Quran said.

Ali, also an organizer for CRH, said the Senate may also want to delay legislation until next year because many of the original organizers of the 2007 divestment bill will then have graduated. He expressed concern about the connection between postponing dissolution and a pending bill.

“Connecting a potential divestment bill with postponing the Senate dissolution is unethical,” Ali said. “Making the incoming senators wait to start their term denies them experience and is putting them at a severe disadvantage.”

Two Campaigns Develop

After the Senate’s decision on Tuesday not to dissolve on May 11, it remains unclear if CRH will continue to press for a Senate bill encouraging the University to reevaluate its investments.

“We haven’t made our final decision yet,” Quran said on Thursday. “The most important thing in the next four weeks is educating the campus on our goals and proposed solutions.”

In the meantime, Invest for Peace (IFP), a student coalition with ties to Stanford Israel Alliance (SIA), has begun a campaign to encourage students to support on-the-ground relief in the region. IFP created a blog and a Facebook page earlier this week. CRH has a similar Web presence.

CRH’s goals, as explained on its website and petitions, include three efforts: educating the University on the issue to increase dialogue, ensuring the University is not aiding companies that are committing human rights violations and developing “new creative ways to help end this conflict.”

In addition to distributing petitions to residences earlier this week, CRH held a teach-in on Thursday evening in Toyon Hall — part of the coalition’s education-outreach effort.

CRH has also expressed plans to present a research document to Stanford’s Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility (APIR), a board that advises the University trustees on investment choices.

On Monday, Quran said CRH planned to present a document sometime “in the next one or two weeks” with research information about companies that potentially were violating human rights. He said on Thursday, however, that CRH’s plans have been changing rapidly in the past week as the situation evolves.

CRH is also expanding the number of companies it is researching beyond the four specified in the petition.

Ali said on Monday that CRH was “more hopeful” about making progress with APIR, and called the possibility of a Senate bill passage a more “symbolic” action.

IFP’s goals also include educating the University on the subject, as well as channeling discussion “toward effective action” and inspiring students to support on-the-ground efforts in the area. IFP is co-sponsoring Challah for Hunger this week, and its next goal is to raise $1,000 by next week for relief efforts.

IFP organizer Yishai Kabaker ’10 said IFP works to “guide people to donate for the cause,” characterizing the campaign as “grassroots.”

“We don’t think we need to go through the ASSU,” he said.

IFP expressed concern with CRH’s petition, saying the research points for some of the companies were not properly substantiated through the citations provided.

Kabaker said while IFP supports CRH’s efforts to increase dialogue and awareness of the issue, “IFP is fundamentally opposed to divestment, which is part of Campaign Restore Hope’s goals.”

Quran, however, called any official action to disinvest from possible human rights violations “may be just symbolic, but still important.”

“If you can give 50,000 students hope, that’s a miracle,” he said. “The only thing [CRH cares] about is ending human rights violations.”

Divestment and Universities Collide

It’s not a new phenomenon for universities to take a stance on international issues through divestment. In 1977, Stanford divested from companies in South Africa in a show of solidarity against apartheid, and again in 2005 from companies invested in Sudan.

In 2007, a divestment bill pushed by Omar Shakir ’07, then president of Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel (SCAI), made it to a vote in the Senate, but failed to pass. Five senators voted in favor, three voted against and five abstained from voting on a bill that encouraged the University trustees to reevaluate Stanford’s investment choices in Israel. The bill did not pass because it did not gain the necessary two-thirds majority vote.

“[The 2007 divestment bill] effectively dominated Senate discussion for four or five weeks and put any other agenda on hold,” said Senate Parliamentarian Alex Katz ’12.

In April, UC-Berkeley’s student government also voted on a bill urging the school to divest from two contractors with the Israeli military. The debate sparked intense debate on the campus and attracted media attention nationwide. The student senate voted 16-4 in favor of the bill.

“Berkeley’s [pro-divestment] campaign had good goals in mind but didn’t consider how emotional the subject is, which made the situation worse,” Quran said, noting that CRH hopes to make discussion of the issue more “comfortable” with the campaign’s approach.

One senator-elect, Rebecca Sachs ’13, said she did not think a divestment bill in the Undergraduate Senate would meet support — “not after the way it met such resistance at Berkeley.”

“I’m incredibly disturbed and scared that it’s coming up again,” she said. “It’s such a divisive issue on campus.”

Current senators differ on whether or not divestment is an issue that the Senate should consider at all.

“Senate has no mandate to legislate on this issue,” said Senate Chair Varun Sivaram ’11. “It’s not a campus issue, and there’s no clear campus sentiment. The incoming Senate is 14 new freshman senators who campaigned on campus issue advocacy. There’s no significance to passing the bill.”

But Ali stressed that a bill’s passage could have symbolic significance that should not be ignored.

“This has been done before, with South Africa and Sudan,” he said. “The students have a voice — and we’re the most likely group to alter the status quo.”

Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, weighed in on the issue, saying he found the issue of divestment an “inappropriate” issue for student government.

“It’s extremely divisive,” he said. “It’s hurtful to one community either way.”

He doubted the University would take action even if a bill passed the Senate.

“I don’t think the University will agree to divest — look at what happened at Cal,” he said. “The University has made it clear that divestment would only happen rarely and in response to a clear impetus. It might happen, but in this case, I can’t see that it would.”

After the senators-elect were chosen in April, Diamond took them to dinner, during which he discussed the issue of divestment and put forth an argument that divestment was an inappropriate strategy in Israel.

“I presented to them thoughts on divestment and provided a historical perspective,” Diamond said. He held a similar dinner with senators this time last year.

“The dinner covered how divestment was a compelling and appropriate strategy for apartheid in South Africa, but I believe it should be a rare strategy in this type of situation,” Diamond said. “It’s certainly not a one-sided and uncomplicated defense of Israel.”

Contact Ellen Huet at ehuet@stanford.edu.

About Ellen Huet

Ellen Huet is currently a senior staff writer at The Daily; she joined the staff in fall 2008 and served one volume as managing news editor in fall and early winter of 2010-2011. Reach her at ehuet at stanford dot edu. Fan mail and sternly worded complaints are equally welcome.
  • Boycott Israel

    Divestment is spreading quckly:

    http://dearbornboycottsisrael.blogspot.com/

    ———————————————————

  • Kim

    Ask yourselves this one question: Would this divestment campaign be waged if Israel were a Muslim country rather than a Jewish one? The answer is obviously no.

    This is clearly a religiously motivated campaign, and is not interested in human rights. If it were interested in human rights, they wouldn’t target Israel, but the true human rights violators of the world.

  • Ell

    Why do these annoying divestment proposals keep popping up? Who is behind it? It was annoying 3 years ago and again now. Students don’t want the ASSU acting like a model UN. And why is Israel, of all countries, being chosen for divestment? How about starting with Iran or Saudi Arabia? Oh yea, I forgot, they are Muslim countries and the main proponents of these divestment things are Muslim. What a-holes.

  • Alex Xie

    This is part of a well financed campaign orchestrated by outside forces. At the extremist Al Awda convention in La Mesa several months back, the plan to foist divestment on california campuses was documented
    “Lina Othman explained how the UC Divestment program had developed a campus-wide network in California tailored for each campus community. For example, she explained, the climate at UC Berkeley might be different than the one at San Diego State when it came to divesting from the Jewish state.

    Othman epitomized the use of deception by the divestment movement just as Al Awda uses in giving such conferences. Othman told us how SDSU had already three SJP members on the Student Council and they were gunning for ten including the Student Body Presidency. Once they had control of the campus, she explained, they would then institute a campus-wide policy. It was bemoaned during this session that an earlier resolution by her campus against the genocide in Darfur had made a point of saying that it did not include Israel. To get around this, Othman explained that future boycott and divestment actions at SDSU would single out “human rights violations” as the cause of pointing out certain companies and individuals to boycott. It was to be specifically about boycotting and divesting from Israel—the Jews—but they wouldn’t say that so as to deceive people.”

    Divestment has failed everywhere it has been tried in America- most recently at UC Berkeley and at UC San Diego. The anti-Israel team is developing an impressive list of failures

    http://homelandsecurityus.com/archives/3590

  • Minor Mistake

    Good article daily. The issue was presented clearly given the space available. A minor mistake was made, however. In 2007 the student senate voted:

    Five (5) For Divestment
    Three (3) Against Divestment
    Five (5) Abstained

    The bill did not pass because it needed 2/3 of the senate vote, or 9/13.

  • Small Note to Ell

    Israel’s violations of International Law and Human Rights outweigh those of any other country in the Middle East. Not to say that other Middle Eastern countries have good human rights standards.

  • The real injustice

    56 Muslim countries (Look up: Organization of the Islamic Conference). 22 of these Muslim countries are Arab. Members of the Arab League. This conflict is about carving the 57th Muslim (23rd Arab) country out of the world’s only Jewish country the size of New Jersey.
    Oh – and these 56 countries each have a vote in the UN. 56-1 against Israel, which explains all the UN resolutions against Israel and why no resolutions against suicide bombing.
    Imagine if these 56 Muslim countries, many of them land and oil wealthy, absorbed their bretheren, the Palestinian Arabs or offered them a bit of their vast lands for that 57th state and welcomed the Jewish State in friendship.
    Imagine. Just imagine.

  • well-written

    Excellent article. This is an important issue on campus, and I am glad students are doing something about it. Keep up the good work.

  • at ell

    please stop being offensive in the same way that you feel the campaign is offensive to you

  • Rogelio

    The “divest from Israel” movement is a transparent , well financed and well coordinated effort to demonize Israeli the minds of students, and in particular, the naive, well meaning students. In fact, the “divest from Israel” movement has very little to do with divesting from Israel, “international law”, or doing anything to help the Palestinians. The “divest from Israel” movement is just another anti-Israel propaganda effort brought to you by the exact same people that have brought us ALL of the other anti-Israel propaganda efforts. If there was any real merit to the “divest from Israel” movement , then they wouldn’t feel compelled to constantly make up negative stuff about Israel as the truth would suffice.

  • Stanford Student

    I agree with Minor Mistake. The Daily did a good bit of reporting on this one.

    I don’t think it’s fair to discuss this divestment bill alongside or in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This bill is pretty different from the one three years ago, and has nothing to say about Israel itself. It’s about human rights violations in Palestine, not Israel. And it’s not labeling Israel as the perpetrator of human rights violations but rather four companies: 2 Israeli, 1 Palestinian, and 1 Egyptian. So Kim, this campaign is not religiously motivated, and Ell, it’s not picking one country over the other in the Middle East.

    Real Injustice, I don’t appreciate the way you frame this conflict. It’s not Islam vs. Judaism, and you should take a look at this link: http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/us-un-and-international-law-8-24/un-involvement-against-terrorism.html

    I actually am slightly offended that you suggest that the UN has done nothing regarding suicide bombing or terrorism.

  • Stanford Student

    Rogelio,

    I encourage you to go to CRH’s website and find the “negative stuff about Israel” that CRH “feels compelled to constantly make up.”

    campaignrestorehope.blogspot.com/

  • complete ;)

    stop trying to play the antisemitism card. This is clearly not an attack on Israel, people are just trying to make it seem that way to avoid the facts. You asked why Israel is always being targeted? Well, Israel is NOT being targeted, learn about the CRH and you’ll see that merely 4 human rights violating companies are being targeted. Furthermore, Sudan was targeted for divestment, and you know what? It is an Arab and Muslim majority country and the fuss was not at all close to the fuss this campaign is getting. As a matter of fact, on of the people helping lead that divestment campaign was Sudanese AND she was the president of the Muslim community on campus. She was devoted to human rights rather than just a piece of land with an imaginary border. Human lives>national allegiances.
    By continuously complaining that this is an anti-Israel campaign, you are doing a disservice to the Stanford community. You believe that you are intelligent enough to understand this campaign, how about you let the student body become well informed and make their own decisions. If you do not agree with the campaign, then state that WITHOUT trying to paint this campaign as anti-Israel, something we all know it is not.

  • Rogelio

    Its interesting having a non-involved, although educated and un-emotional perspective on the issues of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. As a matter of course, I have found that the “anti-Israel” voices on the issues seem to either distort history or ommit key points from history. As the old Filipino saying goes,”a half truth is a whole lie.” In general, I have found that the “anti-Israel” voices use language and imagery that evoke an emotion response, while the “pro-Israel” voices tend to recite dry, boring, laundry lists of facts. It has evolved to the point where, even in their own circles its refered to as the “Palestinan narrative”, rather than “history.” The “divest from Israel” movement people that I have spoken with, haven’t really known very much at all about the real history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and so tend to extrapolate backwards and imagine what must have happened in the past rather than what did happen. Then, there appear to be some historic events that have been mythologicized beyond recognition by the “divest from Israel “people, typically described with loose use of dramatic and emotional, although, often inapplicable vocabulary, such as “ethnic cleansing” or,”apartheid”, often borrowed from other conflicts. I recall Ilan Pappe, a well known Israeli apologist for the Palestinians when confronted with an obvious factual contradiction in one of his books, stating,”Its not about the “truth” , its about advancing an ideology.” The “anti-Israel” compulsion is truly a fascinating phenomena.

  • Jon

    Remember that divestment has not just been losing up and down California over the last month. It’s actually been rejected by every college/university, church, co-op, city and other institution where it’s been proposed by BDS advocates over the last decade, in some cases (like the Presbyterian and Methodist churches) by majorities of 95-100%! Given that it’s not likely Israel’s support runs this high at UC colleges or other institutions, I think this demonstrates that though many people sympathize with one side of the Arab-Israeli dispute vs. another, almost everyone agrees that they do not want thier school used by a narrow group of partisans desperate to stuff their political message into Stanford (or anyone else’s) mouth.

    http://www.divestthis.com

  • Stanford Student

    Rogelio,

    It’s interesting how you seem to discuss only “anti-Israel” voices and not “pro-Israel” ones. Firstly, why do you have to use those specific labels? Why does it have to be anti or pro Israel? What about using the “pro-Palestinian” label? By framing it this way you are arguing that people simply pick one side over the other. There are people that are pro-Israel who do still support Palestine. Please do not make the mistake of over-generalizing. It is referred to as a “Palestinian narrative” because it is a fact-based account that is not often heard. I don’t see what the issue is with framing the conflict in terms of a story that has evolved over time as long as that story is fact-based. Just because it’s a narrative doesn’t mean it’s fake.

    Secondly, I dispute the claim that “pro-Israel” voices tend to recite dry, boring, laundry lists of facts. There are many on the pro-Israeli side who definitely use language and imagery to evoke an emotional response. Telling the story of the Holocaust is definitely meant to evoke an emotional response. It also happens to be a completely true story, which is why I have no objection to THAT narrative being shared either. Suffice it to say, it is laughable to make the claim that one side distorts the facts, while the other does not. Both sides have people that are willing to twist facts to make a point, but the moderates on both sides understand the clear history quite well.

    Finally, who have you spoken to regarding THIS current campaign? Do they also seem uninformed?

  • John Hua

    The worst thing about the divestment bill is how they throw in a couple of no-name Arab companies to shield them from accusations of antisemitism. How stupid do they think people are? How about targeting the real human rights violating countries in the middle east like Saudi Arabia. They don’t even allow Jews, synagogues, or churches there. How about Iran, where they execute homosexuals.

    I’m going to call this antisemitism because they wouldn’t be pushing for this divestment BS if Israel were a Islamic country instead of a Jewish one. That by definition makes it antisemitic.

  • Lemuel Wilson

    It seems to me that NEITHER of these sides is “pro-Palestinian.” Being “anti-Israel” is certainly different than being “pro-Palestinian.” A truly “pro-Palestinian” position would advocate actions that benefit the Palestinians, rather than perpetuate divisions and destructive conflict. Perhaps advocating a course of Ghandian non-violent civil disobedience for the Palestinian, or perhaps a return to the Oslo Accords. Advocating divestment pressures one side of the conflict al one, will not address and resolve the root causes of the conflict.This sort of approach will only serve to perpetuate divisiveness and conflict thus keeping the Palestinians in the limbo that they are in.

  • Maria

    How ironic that the most democratic country in the Middle East is the one targeted. There are countries there that are completely undemocratic kingdoms and theocracies that abuse human rights at will. But they are Muslim, so they are immune to these silly divestment campaigns unlike the only non-Muslim country there (Israel).

  • Ellie Nelson

    Its not only that, its that microscopic focus on Israel alone, as if ONLY the Palestinians mattered, of all the peoples of the world with problems. Are the Palestinians just “special” or something? Any of these folks ever mention Sri Lanka, Tibet, Congo etc?

  • Faisl

    Ellie, it’s because their real concern is not human rights. They are motivated by religion and/or politics.

  • Faisl

    And I agree with John, it is transparent how the divestment pushers added a couple of insignificant non-Jewish companies to protect themselves from being accused of antisemitism. Even me, a non-Jewish Christian Arab realizes this. They are trying to improve on the failed effort by the slick and deceptive Omar Shakir, who’s now in grad school at GTown.

  • Hi

    ^^^
    ”They are trying to improve on the failed effort by the slick and deceptive Omar Shakir, who’s now in grad school at GTown.”
    You commentators love sensational statements. This is probably why we can’t have a good debate on the topic because people make comments like this. I’m not advocating for either side here. I’m just saying try and see how you guys are arguing. It’s not logical, it’s all based on emotion.

  • complete ;)

    you guys are using extremely weak arguments..”why not target other countries?” what kind of argument is that? If you want to target a country that you are affiliated with, then by all means go and do the research, see if Stanford may be invested in some of their companies and then launch a campaign. Fadi has taken it upon himself to raise awareness about a cause that he feels passionate about. You have no right to tell him what countries he should and should not focus on. There have been countless other campaigns on campus and they have never received the “don’t target _______, rather you should target ________” argument that is presented right now. The fact that you should not target one country because there are others doing the similar thing is pathetic and cowardly, injustice should be fought everywhere, it doesn’t matter which countries are the first to be targeted. And fyi, its not Israel (which isnt even being attacked in this campaign). Also, by saying that words such as “apartheid” are inapplicable, you are completely since people such as Nelson Mandela have come out and compared the current state of the Palestinians to the state of the oppressed majority in South Africa that Stanford students helped 20+ years ago.

  • to complete ;)

    I guess the proper analogy would be an attempt to divest from Liberia – the question would be, why Liberia? You enslaved their ancestors and now you’re trying your best to subjugate them from a distance. In the case of Israel, here you have a country comprised on the fragments of a people expelled by Arab nations and western nations alike, that have come together to build one of the most creative and productive societies of modern times, all the while maintaining a liberal democracy in a sea of tyranny. The question is, the sea of tyranny is there, and all you can do is obsess about the same minute fragment of the world’s population that were subjected to its pogroms, crusades, inquisitions, and holocausts for centuries. It begins to reek less of concern for “human rights” than it does the same centuries-old bigotry.

  • Lemuel Wilson

    “Apartheid” is a legal term of art. Like alot of other legal terms, “aprtheid” requires “intent”, in the case of apartheid, that means “intent to discriminate on the basis of race. Old South Africa was open both in the intent and the practice of raciallybased discrimination. In direct contrast however, Israel’s motivations as stated and practiced are based on the legitimate security concerns of Israel as the only state for Jewish people, a traditionally hunted minority. Among the very fewthingsthat Jews and Arabs agree on is that they are related peoples and descednants of a com mon ancestor, not racially distinct groups. In fact, in Israel, the only way to determine whether an individual is Jewish or Arab is to ask nicely. Simply because thee is “separation” does not mean that there is “apartheid”. By using the word “apartheid”, one creates a terribly misleading impression as to what caused the Palestinians tto have ended up in their current situation. It is not analogous to Old South Africa for many reasons, of which Mr., Mandela seems unaware. For example, recent Israeli vice consul to San Francisco, Ismail Khalidi, was an Israeli-Arab. “Apartheid” is clearly a word chosen, not to accurately describe the real situation in Israel but rather to inflame, incite, and mislead. As used here, and applied to Israel, the choice of the word “apartheid ” is libelous.

  • complete ;)

    hahahaha “you enslaved their ancestors?” please tell me you are not using “you” as an indication that you are referring to me. I, personally did not enslave anyone. As a matter of fact, I’m not even a US citizen! I don’t see what analogy you’re attempting to create..Liberia is being subjugated from afar, so we should try and stop that..ok. how is that comparable to Israel? (I, honestly, am unable to get the gist of your message. could you please reword it?)

  • hotfordaily

    ellen huet = hottest reporter at the daily

    no competition

  • hotfordaily

    p.s. good article

  • to complete ;)

    Stay with me now, I’ll go slowly. We’re talking about an American university. You are posting on the message board for said American university’s campus newspaper. Liberia was built by those America persecuted, Israel was built by those the Arab world and Europe persecuted. A campaign to target Liberia in a sea of tyrannical regimes of west africa would be greeted with obvious objection. The campaign to target Israel, in a sea of tyrannical regimes, should be regarded no differently.

  • complete ;)

    i agree with your point that palestinians/israelis are related…in fact, everyone is. race is not inherent, there is nothing in our DNA that determines race, so at that the end of the day, the choice to discriminate against people does really boil to anything substantial. and i’m pretty sure Mandela knows more about apartheid than most people at Stanford, including Larry Diamond who tried to argue that this problem is not akin to S.A.
    And because there was one Arab-Israeli counsel doesnt really mean much. you guys are arguing that the 2 companies were added to the list to cover up its “antisemitic ways” so why cant we just assume that the one counsel of Arab descent was just sent as a ploy to make it seem as if Israel doesnt hate Arabs? (Im not sayign i believe that, i was just pointing out the flaws in your logic.

  • Sabers

    First of all, you should read the article well. It clearly states that CHR is trying to divest from four specific companies, 2 Israeli, 1 EGYPTIAN, and 1 PALESTINIAN. So the argument that this is targeting Israel and forgetting other “Muslim” countries is plainly inaccurate. Stop trying to make this into a religious argument and understand that there is human suffering that this campaign is trying alleviate. Additionally, even if that was true and the only companies that were being targeted are pro-Israeli there is a reason for why college campuses focus on Israel rather than focusing on other countries. Israel gets more tax-payer money than any other country in the world (about 1/5 of the foreign aid budget is allocated towards Israel as well as numerous ways the tax-payer supports military conquest in the Occupied Territories and otherwise), and Stanford University (as well as other universities) invest in companies that advance human rights violations in these Occupied Territories. Also I didn’t hear anyone speak against divestment from Sudanese and South African companies, and the student senate definitely played a part in this.

  • complete ;)

    ahhh, you’re the patronizing type. very nice, i tried to remain calm and respected in my postings, but i see that has no effect on you. OK :)
    soo…your argument is that those who were persecuted have the right to hurt others and not receive any kind of backlash? So if African-Americans were targeted for doing wrong, they could react they same way the anti-Palestine side is acting right now? granted, they are not in a different country such as Liberia or Israel, but still-wrong is wrong regardless of what happened to the oppressors in the past. furthermore, this is NOT an attack against Israel. stop making it seem that way. talk to Fadi and learn about the campaign before you make these wild, rash and hurtful assumptions.

  • Faisl

    Sabers, as has been mentioned above, the non-Israeli companies mentioned are tokens to shield the group from claims of antisemitism. They are no-name companies that are not even publicly traded. Second, the foreign aid shouldn’t bear a difference, as Stanford’s investments aren’t funded through taxes. And anyway, at least Israel is an aid recipient that mirrors western values of human rights, unlike Egypt and Saudi Arabia who get many more billions from us through aid and oil.

  • Faisl

    Google the 2 non-Israeli “companies”. They are clearly tokens. The first one is owns a single cement factory in the west bank. I’m not even sure the second one is a company, as the only search result that comes up on google is the divestment bill. Even the divestment bill says that it’s violations involve publishing. Is it a news paper? What a joke.
    This is a divestment campaign targeted against Israel and only Israel. Don’t be fooled.

  • 56-22-1

    If there is NEVER a Palestinan state, there will still be 56 states whose majority religion is Muslim; there will still be 22 countries that speak Arabic and keep the Arab culture. The world’s only Jewish state is the size of New Jersey. It is the only state in the Middle East where there is the freedom to worship God in any faith one chooses. If the Arabs of Israel ever felt that they are not happy in Israel, they have 22 other countries to choose from (That is if the Arabs of those countries were welcoming. They aren’t.) The Jews on the other hand, have nowhere else to go.

  • john

    I don’t have an opinion on this issue. I just advocate dissolving the ASSU because it is a total waste of time.

  • @ Kim

    Kim wrote:
    “Ask yourselves this one question: Would this divestment campaign be waged if Israel were a Muslim country rather than a Jewish one? The answer is obviously no.”

    I have a problem with this mischaracterization of the divestment issue. The reason this divestment campaign is targeting Israel and not other human rights violators is because Israel is an “ally” of the United States and seems to get a “free pass”, whereas other flagrant violators like Iran, North Korea, etc., are already being sanctioned economically, diplomatically, and in some cases (like Iraq) militarily. Even countries like China, which we have stable and regular relations with get a slap on the wrist here and there. Israel, to date, hasn’t taken responsibility and it has to.

  • kim

    @@kim, what twisted logic that we should target Israel because they are our ally. First off, Israel is pretty much the focus of UN condemnations, while Iran and the true human rights abusers get ignored because of the powerful Islamic and Arab voting blocs. Secondly, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are also US allies who get huge amounts of aid. Israel is a model country, especially compared to them. So don’t give out a few examples. One other thing, while tax dollars don’t go to Iran, divestment is just as relavent to them as it is to Israel as there are many corporations that do business in Iran and even some who sell equipment that directly suppresses human rights there (read about Siemens).
    It is obvious that if Israel were a Muslim country, this would not even be discussed. They are being discriminated against for being Jewish, which is the definition of antisemitism (you don’t need KKK hoods and swastikas to fit this definition).

  • Dusty

    The Economist issues a ranked list of countries in terms of human rights
    http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/democracy_index_2007_v3.pdf
    Israel is ranked as a “flawed democracy” in 47th place. There are 120, count them, 120 countries with a lower ranking.
    When those 120 countries face the same kind of scrutiny as Israel, when we’ve divested from ties with them, then it will be Israel’s tern. In the meanwhile, it seems like one country is unjustly being singled out. But I am sure Israel is accustomed to this- the UN does it all the time.

    Kim- using your logic, if Israel were a monarchy or a dictatorship, it would be off the hook, but it gets extra abuse as a democracy. Why does that even make sense?

  • Imelda

    As a human being, I love Israel.

    As a student, I’m sick of these anti-Israel groups wasting the ASSU’s resources and time with this matter.

  • Jon

    As California students have already seen at Berkeley, promotors of this divestment bill (no matter how they try to pass it off as a generic human rights resolution) stand ready to portray any Yes vote they might win as Standford – the entire university, including everyone reading this – as standing shoulder to shoulder with Students for Justice in Palestine in declaring Israel an Apartheid state alone in the world deserving economic punishment.

    Given that their trigger finger is itching to post such a statement onto a million blogs and Facebook pages, it seems only fair that they come clean and state that is what they’re asking for when bringing such a bill before student leaders. Anything short of that, as well as being dishonest, represents an outright admission that SJP considers the rest of the Stanford’s student body to be a bunch of idiots who will fall for anything wrapped in giftwrap marked “human rights.”

  • one way or another

    this will make its way into the Senate…unless they settle things beforehand.