As a Cal State Long Beach senior, I’ve had time to reflect on the impact our university has had on us, and in turn, what kind of impact we’ve made on the university. I leave this place with incredible memories: the good, the bad, and the many lessons along the way.
I gained a wealth of knowledge here at CSULB, thanks to my acting and political science classes, learning and sharing experiences in Jewish life, and representing my fellow classmates on our student senate. Being a student senator was one of my most memorable experiences during my time here.
So while I have always felt proud of my time on student senate, last week, my fellow representatives let me down. They brought forth a proposal for our University to boycott, divest from, and sanction companies connected to Israel.
This all might sound strangely familiar to you. That’s because this controversial and divisive issue was already debated on our campus, during the spring of last year. Last spring, wiser heads prevailed and the resolution was amended to protect marginalized people, no matter their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sex, or sexual orientation.
So why, when this debate has already been had, are we discussing it again just a year later? Why does the resolution only target Israel when it purports to be about universal human rights? Why are there no mentions of the atrocities in Russia, Syria, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia? Why are there no demands to boycott, divest from, and sanction companies that prop up dictatorial regimes around the world?
If the sentiment of those bringing this motion forward was sincere, they’d have included in this debate the countless atrocities happening around the world. But they did not. And it reveals their true intentions: a veiled assault on the very right for Israel to exist wrapped up under the guise of universal human rights.
Furthermore, not only is this proposal a repeat of last year’s debate, it’s a waste of time and resources, which could be dedicated to things that directly impact student life on campus. Our student representatives could be working to address rising parking costs, tuition increases, the lack of healthy and affordable food options, our insufficient mental health services, and more. These are the issues that affect our student body, and these are the issues they should be focused on.
CSULB prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive community. This divestment resolution is counterproductive to fostering those values. BDS is extremely divisive, and it incites anti-Jewish sentiments, which we’ve already seen on our campus. This resolution marginalizes and targets Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel students, which is not something our campus should tolerate. I’m grateful President Conoley condemns this hostile resolution, which makes me, a Jewish, Pro-Israel student feel targeted.
I hope that my fellow students and representatives see that this proposal is nothing but an effort to delegitimize the State of Israel. These continued attempts to boycott Israel are divisive on campus and counterproductive to any lasting peace in the Middle East. It also incites anti-Jewish sentiments on campus. BDS has no place on our campus. I hope that everyone can see through this veiled attack against Israel and question why we’re rehashing the same debate we had one year ago.
BDS simply has no place on our campus. This resolution has sparked a divisive and hostile debate from social media all the way to the senate floor. While it is comforting to see President Conoley standing up for our community, I sincerely hope that our student representatives will do the same.