CU Jewish organizations oppose student government resolution

Marc Snir, retired computer science professor and president of the C-U Jewish Federation, joined the University in condemning a recent Illinois Student Government resolution.

Photo Courtesy of Illinois Computer Science

Marc Snir, retired computer science professor and president of the C-U Jewish Federation, joined the University in condemning a recent Illinois Student Government resolution.

By Mona Alrazzaq, Staff Writer

Students for Justice in Palestine and the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation both had strong reactions regarding Illinois Student Government’s resolution 04.22, a non-binding action passed last week which called for the University’s divestment from companies that support fossil fuels, the prison-industrial complex, Israel’s military and local police departments.

The University immediately condemned the resolution, and Jewish organizations on campus followed suit. 

The Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation released a statement signed by Marc Snir, president of the organization, which stated that among the companies listed for human rights violations, a majority of them were “guilty for their association with Israel.” 

In addition to many Jewish students opposing the decision during the debate, Illini Chabad and Illini Hillel also condemned the passage of this resolution.

The statement labeled the resolution as one with a goal of advancing the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel. Snir, a retired University computer science professor, said that he was surprised by the “intellectual dishonesty of tying together opposition to Israel, opposition to police violence, concern about global warming and concern about the state of U.S. prisons.” 

Noting how the passage of the resolution by the ISG is non-binding, Snir said that “these repeated attempts to associate Zionism with any cause reviled by progressive students” is tiresome and harmful to Jewish students. 

Students for Justice in Palestine were grateful that the resolution passed, but the statement released by the organization expressed frustration with the “persistent racist and Islamophobic Zionist senators and members of the public that voiced their opposition to this bill.”

“Divesting from these companies is a matter of life and death,” read the statement. “How many more POC must die at the hands of these corporations for people to see the urgency and immediacy of this issue?”

In response to criticism regarding the inclusion of multiple issues in one resolution, the organization responded with why it felt it was necessary.

“The liberation of the Palestinians is tied to the liberation of Black people and other marginalized groups around the world,” SJP stated. “We must work together as a collective force against the violation of human rights at the hands of rising neoliberalism and fascism.”

SJP also attacked the University’s “hollow stance” on the Black Lives Matter movement, stating that the University “claims ‘Black Lives Matter,’ all while cosigning the UIPD’s actions of racial profiling on Black students and stifling protests about racial justice but ignoring the white crowds who attend bars and parties, posing a threat to our campus community.”

SJP claimed the University’s statement condemning the resolution shows that the University automatically shuts down and any organization on campus advocating for Palestinian rights. SJP’s statement also criticized the University for its lack of concern for “the safety of its students that were threatened by Zionists that opposed this bill.” 

Despite the vehement opposition by organizations on campus such as Illini Chabad and Illini Hillel, SJP is “prepared to continue pushing this resolution higher up and will not stop demanding that our administration advocate for the rights and dignities of its Palestinian students.”

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