Pennsylvania college approves pro-BDS motion

Student government at Swarthmore College approves resolution calling on the school to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

Ben Ariel,

Pro-BDS display
Pro-BDS display
Flash 90

The student government at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania voted to approve a resolution calling on the school to divest from companies that do business with Israel related to Judea and Samaria, JTA reported on Wednesday.

The vote by the Student Government Organization took place on March 3, and came a month after the resolution was rejected at a similar closed-meeting vote.

The student government at the private liberal arts school held the new vote after deciding it had not received enough input from student groups, according to JTA.

The school’s president, Valerie Smith, and its board of managers have yet to respond to the nonbinding resolution, according to the Swarthmore Phoenix, the student newspaper.

The resolution was proposed by the college’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. It calls on the college to divest from seven companies doing business with Israel and asks it to remove a 1991 ban on social movements influencing investment decisions.

The vote was held behind closed doors out of concern for the safety of the student board, whose members had been victimized with online harassment by off-campus organizations, the Phoenix reported.

About 240 Jewish undergraduates attend Swarthmore, making up about 16 percent of the student population there, according to JTA.

There have been several attempts to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in US campuses. In December of 2018, the Student Government Assembly (SGA) at New York University (NYU) voted in favor of a BDS-type resolution calling for the divestment of companies that do business with the IDF.

Other attempts to promote BDS on campuses have not been met with success, however. Also in December of 2018, , the Undergraduate Student Government of the Ohio State University voted down a resolution to divest from companies which “benefit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” and to boycott Israeli products.




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