Even In a Pandemic, Columbia Students Promote BDS

Tamara Berens

Mosaic Magazine

Tue Mar 31 2020

his coming Sunday, April 5, the undergraduate student council at Columbia University in New York will vote on when to schedule an online referendum that has nothing to do with the academic upheaval caused by the coronavirus. Instead, students at this prestigious ivy-league school will be turning their attention to the urgent issue of . . . boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The referendum will be held either in the coming weeks or next semester.

Who is behind it? Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) is the coalition of two anti-Israel clubs: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Since 2016, its constituent members have proposed successive motions before the student council asserting that Israel is an “apartheid state” and should therefore be regarded by university officials as a target for divestment.

At first, CUAD’s petitions were unsuccessful as pro-Israel students packed each meeting to demonstrate their affinity with the Jewish state. But, year after year, the “anti-” side smartened up, electing more likeminded members to the council even as fatigue set in among Israel supporters and their attendance at meetings dwindled. At this year’s vote to approve the motion of a campus-wide referendum on divestment, proponents felt free enough to voice naked hostility not only to the Jewish state but also to Jews and to Judaism: a faith “co-opted,” in the reported words of one outspoken participant, “by white supremacy.”...

Even In a Pandemic, Columbia Students Promote BDS