By Ellen Huet
Leaders of Campaign Restore Hope (CRH), a campus campaign to lobby the University to divest from certain companies in Israel that they say contribute to human rights violations, have announced they will no longer seek to urge divestment through an ASSU Undergraduate Senate bill.
“Going through the Senate led to too much emotional backlash, so we changed direction,” said CRH organizer Fadi Quran ‘10, who called the backlash the “only real hindrance” that CRH’s efforts faced.
Senate Chair Varun Sivaram ‘11 said the timing of the Senate transition would also have posed an obstacle.
“If CRH had wanted to get a bill introduced, it’d have to have gotten to me by now, or else it’s too late,” Sivaram said. “Next week is transition week, and I won’t introduce a bill then.”
Instead, CRH will redirect some of its efforts toward collaborative events with Invest for Peace (IFP), a student coalition with ties to Stanford Israel Alliance (SIA) whose campaign encourages students to support on-the-ground relief work in the region.
“Campaign Restore Hope’s movement is still going forward,” Quran said. “The only new difference is that we are not going to pursue divestment through the Senate.”
Quran said the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility & Licensing (APIR-L) last Thursday confirmed to CRH that Stanford was not invested in any of the four companies that CRH named in a petition circled around campus early last week.
The two campaigns say they will host three joint events in the next two weeks. According to IFP organizer Yishai Kabaker ’10, Quran will speak about his perspective as a Palestinian on May 16; an Israeli student still to be determined will speak on May 17. On May 24, Quran and Kabaker will give a joint discussion and debate on policy and advocacy, according to Joe Gettinger ‘11.
Gettinger, the former president of the Jewish Student Association, said he has a “longstanding” relationship with Quran and encouraged the collaboration.
“By CRH changing their tack in not pushing for a Senate campaign, it really in a lot of ways opens a lot of this communication,” Gettinger said.
“One thing I think tends to be lacking on campus when these things come up is sincere listening<\p>–<\p>sincere, active, open listening,” something he hopes to see in the upcoming events, he added.
“It’s much better if we can use our space and our distance [from the Middle East] to try to address these issues,” Gettinger said.
Elizabeth Titus contributed to this report.