Another BDS hearing, another day. On January 24th, Ohio State University’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution that seemed to single out and falsely accuse Israel of committing human rights violations. During the resolution’s time on the floor, it was revised so that the attack on Israel was virtually eliminated.
A clarifying note from Ohio State University’s Hillel states the following:
I wanted to let you know that last night OSU Hillel and 100s of pro-Israel students succeeded in removing all direct references to Israel from a resolution that passed the Undergraduate Student Government to support a university investment committee.
The “Resolution to Establish a Committee to Investigate OSU’s Investments in Companies Complicit in Human Rights Violations” asks the University Senate to form an ad-hoc committee to review investments in companies that are involved in human rights abuses. It passed by secret ballot after hours of debate.With the help of OSU Hillel and our valued partners, pro-Israel student leaders made tremendous efforts to combat the original resolution. They supported many amendments that stripped specific references to Israel and companies that do business with Israel. They spoke with passion and intelligence about their connection to Israel, its human rights records and their concerns about being marginalized as Jewish students on our campus. Their words helped several amendments pass that changed the tone of the resolution from targeting Israel to combating human rights abuses more broadly.
After the vote, Jewish and pro-Israel students gathered at OSU Hillel to regroup and make plans for further Israel engagement and open conversation on our campus.
We are incredibly proud of our students’ tireless efforts to prevent Israel from being singled out and misrepresented on campus, and their continuing resolve to fight BDS and anti-Israel bias however it manifests on campus. We will continue to work with our supporters and partners to ensure as many students as possible learn Israel’s true story.”
The resolution was looking to establish a committee that would cut ties with, boycott, or divest from companies which do business with countries that violate human rights. In the resolution, countries such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen were mentioned, as well as Israel. While Saudi Arabia and Yemen certainly violate the basic human rights of their own people, the same cannot be said for Israel, who has consistently served as a beacon of freedom in an oppressive geographic region. It seems that this resolution is representative of the contemporary purpose of the United Nations: a useless entity that serves no purpose, other than to demonize, delegitimize, and create absurd double standards against the Jewish state. While thankfully the anti-Israel part of the resolution was eliminated, the intent of the resolution still stands.
As a member of the Israel advocacy community, I can already hear the “Pro-Palestinian” key board warriors shouting, “That’s whitewashing! You’re covering up human rights violations with small human rights that are a necessity! You can’t possibly cover up the war crimes of the fascist state of Israel!” (Yes, I really have heard this. Multiple times). These shouts are usually silenced by the prominent inability of Palestinian sympathizers to explain the incitement that the Palestinian Authority (PA) uses to fuel its people’s hate, the PA terror stipends, and the embezzlement of foreign funds by Hamas and the PA. The most comforting silence comes from the inability to answer: If the Palestinian leadership is so inclusive to minorities, why does it 1) throw Christians and gays off buildings and 2) does it still oppress its own people? The “activists” are then completely silent after realizing that they are not advocating for anything but an obstruction to peace. Oh, who am I kidding? They end up calling me a fascist neo-Nazi and recite genocidal lines from the Hamas Charter that incite the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people from Israel.
My point is not that one side is wrong and the other side is right. Rather, it’s that if we want two sides to come together, we must stop ignoring our differences, and actually come together. We must not distance ourselves. In such a divisive time, we cannot afford to create an even more polarizing environment. While I know I have lost many of the “America First” audience, I hope that the following is something we can all realize: 1) Divestment does not bring two sides closer to making any sort of progress, and 2) You can’t spell BDS without BS.
Follow the author on Twitter