Students fight BDS movement on “American campuses”

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Israel students fight BDS movement on American campuses

The pro-Israel movement on campus batted two for three this past week at Texas A&M, University of Minnesota, and the University of Illinois as pro-Palestinian students pushed for anti-Semitic sanctions and referendums on campuses nationwide.

On March 8, the student government at Texas A&M overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning antisemitism, similar to ones which have passed at the University of California Los Angeles, University of California Santa Barbara, Indiana University, and other schools.

“It’s inspiring to see student leaders being so vocal in support of the Israeli and Jewish communities,” said Jen Weintraub, Southern Campus Coordinator at StandWithUs, a pro-Israel advocacy organization in the U.S. and Israel. “This resolution makes clear that there is no place for antisemitism or any other form of bigotry on campus.”

However, the pro-Israel campus movement suffered a defeat a few days later when a BDS resolution passed by a 217-vote margin at the University of Minnesota.

According to a statement by StandWithUs, the initiative was “deceptive, as it exploited domestic social justice causes to promote an anti-Israel agenda. The question that was on the ballot was also far from neutral, because the wording submitted by UMN Divest was designed to influence students to vote ‘yes.’”

The organization’s Midwest Campus Coordinator Liora Bachrach said, “[I am] deeply disappointed that such a misleading referendum was allowed to go to a vote.”

University of Minnesota Hillel said in a statement, “We know there are no true winners in this election; a referendum of this nature eliminated space for dialogue, and without dialogue, we were left with division.”

But that result was not the case last Monday at the University of Illinois, which is no stranger to anti-Israel activity, as a similar resolution was defeated by a 1433-vote margin.

“Pro-Israel organizations on campuses, such as StandWithUs, should be applauded for their recent successes against the BDS movement on several campuses. It is my hope that the pro-Israel momentum on campuses continues forward,” Jennifer Dekel, the director of research and communications for the Endowment for Middle East Truth told Red Alert Politics. “Yet we cannot forget that our enemies are well-organized, well-funded, and growing stronger; Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) is launching an ideological war against the State of Israel, and has support from a group tied to Hamas.”

Dekel added, “We, the pro-Israel community, must continue to work together to combat the growing antisemitism and anti-Israel activity on campuses.”

Dekel’s words highlight the need for pro-Israel activism on campuses in order to combat the anti-Israel sentiment permeating campuses nationwide. Next week, George Washington University’s SJP chapter is hosting its annual Israel Apartheid Week, which seeks to “raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid system over the Palestinian people and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”

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