Student government representatives were ordered to apologize after they held meetings during Passover to discuss divestment from Israel.
The decision came from the Student Judiciary arm of the Associated Students of Madison, the university student government. It demanded that the ASM chairwoman write a letter to apologize and explain “why Passover is important to the Jewish community,” and advised the former chairwoman to attend religious tolerance training.
The controversy began in late March, when ASM members — at the urging of Madison’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter — proposed a resolution calling for the university to divest from corporations linked to the “Military-Industrial Complex, Private Prisons, [and] Fossil Fuel Companies.”
Most of the document focused on Israel, referring to the Jewish state as an “Apartheid Regime” and tying it to the American “alt-right” - a racist movement that has targeted American Jews for special censure. It also criticized programs in which American police officer receive training in Israel, tying those activities to cases of domestic police brutality.
Jewish students succeeded in having the measure tabled, only to see a version of it resurrected at a meeting held on the second day of Passover, when many Jewish students were tending to religious obligations.
The student judiciary ruled that this was wrong. “Excluding students from meetings due to their religious beliefs, particularly when said students have expressed interest in a committee’s activities, violates ASM’s Constitution,” it held.