Anti-Israel divestment resolution passes at UW-Madison following procedural irregularities

After voting to table a resolution demonizing Israel last month, the Associated Students of Madison accepted the presentation of a new, more generalized divestment resolution, which members amended to include language condemning Israel.

On March 29, the first resolution was tabled indefinitely after more than six hours of debate. At the following ASM meeting, which fell during Passover despite protests from the Jewish community, ASM suspended its bylaws and attempted to create a financial transparency committee with the power to pass divestment legislation.

On April 26, at ASM's final meeting of the school year, students presented a resolution calling for divestment from any businesses involved in private prisons, arms manufacturing, fossil fuels, and border walls. Members of ASM then introduced amendments to the legislation that condemned Israel, including laying blame on Israel for training U.S. police in tactics that they say harm African-Americans

During the debate, anti-Israel ASM members disparaged the Jewish community, calling it an "oppressor" and saying Jewish students oppose divestment against Israel because it "threatens their white privilege." Jewish students and their allies were also targeted and harassed during the meeting, according University of Wisconsin-Madison Hillel Executive Director Greg Steinberger.

Staff members from JUF and the Israel Action Network have been providing extensive consulting and strategic support to Hillel and pro-Israel students throughout the process. The groups released a statement  Friday along with the Jewish Federation of Madison and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Emily Briskman, executive director of  JUF's Israel Education Center , said it "became clear during the meeting that many members of ASM were determined to demonstrate their single-minded desire to disparage Israel." 

Ultimately, the legislation passed by a vote of 24-0-2. 

In response, the university issued a statement strongly condemning the vote


 




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