Members of the University of Maryland student government have nixed a bill to boycott Israel before it could be brought to a vote, JTA reported Thursday.
After two hours of debate Wednesday, the student affairs committee put forward an unfavorable report on the bill by a vote of 21-1 with three abstentions, according to the university’s Diamondback newspaper.
Student legislators then voted 23-13 against overturning the report, with one abstention.
Of the 61 students that spoke during the debates, 45 opposed the bill, according to student legislator David Rekhtman.
The bill would have called on the University of Maryland to divest from companies which supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement claim enable and profit from human rights violations in the Palestinian territories.
The legislation was put forward at the urging of the Students for Justice in Palestine group on campus, according to JTA.
Ahead of Wednesday’s debates, powerful voices from outside the university weighed in against the bill. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), and six of Maryland’s Democratic U.S. congressmen signed a letter to the student government president, A.J. Pruitt, voicing opposition to the BDS movement “that would only undermine efforts to achieving Middle East peace through a two-state solution.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan last month signed an executive order barring executive branch agencies from doing business with entities unless they certify that they will not boycott Israel.
Maryland thus joined several other U.S. states to have passed anti-BDS legislation in recent years.
Last December, Nevada introduced a law against the anti-Israel movement, after Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchinson and pro-Israel activists introduced Senate Bill 26, which is similar to the anti-BDS legislation passed in other states.
The same month, the Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill targeting BDS.