Stanford senate passes Israel divestment measure

The Undergraduate Senate of Stanford University passed an Israel divestment bill Tuesday that had been defeated last week.

The resolution calls for Stanford University trustees to divest from companies that “violate international humanitarian law by: maintaining illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation… facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians… [and] facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces.”

On February 11 Stanford students voted on a resolution that called for the university to cease investing in companies that operate out of the West Bank and Gaza. That measure was struck down when it failed to pass the necessary 66 percent of the vote, garnering just 64% with nine votes for, five against and one abstention.

Two student senators requested a motion to reconsider the resolution, saying the anti-divestment bloc had created a hostile environment that prevented them from voting “with clarity,” the group Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine said in a press release.

When that motion was approved and votes were recast Tuesday, the measure to divest from companies with holdings over the Green Line was passed with 10 students voting for the resolution, four against and two abstaining.

The Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine group claims that it is not connected to any international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and “affirms both Israelis and Palestinians’ rights to life, safety, and self-determination.”

Recent weeks have seen several efforts to pass advance academic and cultural boycott measures against Israel.

Representatives of the University of California, Davis, passed a resolution that encourages its board of trustees to divest university funds from Israel and several other countries.

Last week, the student representative council at the Durban University of Technology in South Africa urged the institution’s management to expel its Jewish students, especially those who don’t support the Palestinian cause, and any student receiving support from Israel.

Earlier this week 100 British artists, actors and writers published a letter in The Guardian pledging and encouraging a cultural boycott of Israel.

Sophomore Ramah Awad, who is involved with the pro-divestment group at Stanford that championed the bill, said that the next step would be “to pressure the Board of Trustees to follow through.”