Columbia University BDS Referendum Fails

Aaron Bandler

Jewish Journal

Mon Mar 11 2019

A boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) referendum at Columbia University failed to reach the two-thirds threshold needed to pass.

According to the Columbia Daily Spectator, 20 members of the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) voted against the March 10 referendum, 17 voted in favor of it and one, CCSC President Jordan Singer, abstained.

Nineteen students watched the four-hour long session inside the Jed D. Statow room, while at least 130 other students followed the live stream in an overflow room. The session was also streamed on Facebook, via the Students Supporting Israel (SSI) Columbia’s Facebook page.

The referendum, spearheaded by Columbia’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), would have allowed students to vote on whether or not to support the university divesting from companies that conduct business with Israel. A similar referendum was overwhelmingly approved in April 2018 by students of Barnard College (an independent private liberal arts women’s college that partners with Columbia).

During the CCSC session, a student who identified herself as Marla, argued on behalf of JVP that passing the referendum was necessary to help foster a dialogue on campus on whether divestment was necessary to support Palestinian rights.

“If [universities] pulling money out of corporations that are profiting off crimes and profiting off illegal activity that Israel is doing, that, in turn, can pressure Israel to end some of those activities,” Marla said. She argued that ending Israel’s “occupation and colonization of Arab land” is among the BDS movement’s goals....

Columbia University BDS Referendum Fails