Washington Students Nix Israel Divestment

Seattle Senate Votes 59-8 Against Measure

By JTA

Published May 21, 2014.
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The student senate at the University of Washington voted overwhelmingly to reject a proposed measure on divestment from Israel.

The vote Tuesday night of 59 against, 8 in favor and 11 abstentions followed a 3 1/2-hour debate, according to StandWithUs, a pro-Israel campus group. The resolution was sponsored by UW students Peter Brannan and Amira Mattar.

The proposed resolution at the Seattle school called on the university to divest from companies providing equipment or services used to maintain or support “the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, including a) the demolition of Palestinian homes and the development of illegal Israeli settlements; b) the building or maintenance of the Separation wall, outposts, and segregated roads and transportation systems on occupied Palestinian territory, and c) illegal use of weaponry and surveillance technology by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilian populations.”

According to Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, a student group at UW, the school has about $6 million invested in four of the companies identified in the resolution. StandWithUs hailed the resolution’s resounding defeat as a blow to the movement to use boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, known as BDS. The group also credited the university’s Hillel with helping quash support for the resolution.

“BDS was handed one of its worst defeats on any campus last night,” Robert Jacobs, director of StandWithUs Northwest, said in a statement. “This just shows how incredibly successful we can be when the community works together. Exposing BDS’s goal of eliminating Israel and violating Jewish rights to self-determination was the key focus of the night, and it was clear that this message got through to many senators.”


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