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Citing Shabbat, CUNY Graduate Students Delay Boycott Israel Vote

A student group at the City University of New York postponed a vote on a boycott resolution of Israel because it would have taken place on the Jewish Sabbath.

About 100 people attended the meeting of the Doctoral Students’ Council on Friday evening and debated the “Resolution for the Endorsement of Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions.” Following the debate, the vote was postponed “out of respect for the Jewish Sabbath,” Haaretz reported.

Eric Alterman, a professor of English at Baruch College, which has a partnership with CUNY, told the council that passing the resolution on Shabbat is a “terrible idea” that “would look as it was done in the middle of the night, the way communists used to pass their resolutions in the ’30s,” Haaretz reported.

Representatives from Hillel, StandWithUs and the Israel Campus attended the meeting.

The text of the resolution reads: “The DSC hereby endorses the boycott of Israeli academic institutions and the divestment from Israeli companies, and calls for the end to the partnership between Baruch College and the College of Management Academic Studies.”

It cites, among other points raised, Israel’s alleged violations of international law and restrictions on Palestinian academics; universities’ shows of support for Israeli troops fighting Hamas in Gaza this summer; and a claim that “Israeli professors and students at Israeli universities who speak out against discriminatory or criminal policies against Palestinians are ostracized and ridiculed if not publicly shamed, or worse.”

The council advertised the measure earlier this month in advance of Friday’s meeting.

It voted strongly in favor of a similar resolution at the end of the spring term, but the proposal did not have the requisite majority.

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