Students of two US major universities vote to divest from ‘Israel’

US (QNN)- Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Columbia University have passed historic resolutions to boycott and divest from companies that profit from or engage in Israeli acts towards the Palestinian people.

Companies named in the resolution include Elbit Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, the latter of which is named for its involvement in “human-rights violations and violations of international law, including the confiscation and destruction of Palestinian lands, criminalization of immigrants and communities of color and other human rights violations”, which therefore “make UIUC complicit in these crimes,” the resolution states.

Last week, the Illinois Student Government passed a resolution calling for the school to divest from transnational companies that contribute to the American and Israeli military, prisons, police forces, or ICE. The resolution was first brought to the student government in February, but was originally vetoed.

After more than six hours of debating, the final vote at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) concluded at 20 in favor and nine against, with seven abstentions.

The resolution was titled “Condemning Ignorance of Racism and Equating Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism” and was co-authored by Dunia Ghanimah, president of the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SPJ). The resolution had 22 sponsors, including Academic Affairs Chair Sihah Reza.

The resolution was met with opposition from the Israeli lobby which crafted an amendment to take out all references to ‘Israel’.

In Columbia University, the student body passed a referendum that had been developed by Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), a group that was formed in 2016. The referendum asked, “Should Columbia University divest its stocks, funds, and endowment from companies that profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s acts towards Palestinians, that according to Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid?”

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger immediately distanced himself from the vote and made it clear that he does not agree with the move.

“Despite the escalating campaigns of repression on campuses and in the halls of government, it is becoming impossible to be ‘progressive except Palestine’, because it is becoming impossible to silence our movement. The Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality so clearly intersects with all other struggles of oppressed peoples everywhere”, the BDS Movement’s North America coordinator Olivia Katbi Smith told Mondoweiss.

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