After a re-vote of a last week vote, the Students Senate of Stanford University passed a resolution to divest from corporations that are complicit in human right abuses in “Israel and Palestine.” Although the students who organized the resolution – Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine – claim that it is not associated with the BDS movement. As finally passed, the resolution actually stated that it “was not connected to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.”
The disclaimer notwithstanding, the Stanford vote is a substantial victory of BDS and was received as such in pro-Palestinian circles. Stanford, a prestigious but largely apolitical university, has been on the “wish list” of the BDS activists for a long time now. As IAM reported, last year’s effort fell short, but after another vote and a re-vote in February 2015, the resolution passed.
Stanford’s case is illustrative of the broader BDS’s campaign. Characteristically, it is based on patient and repeated efforts and coalition building with kindred groups.
It is too early to assess the practical value of the Stanford resolution. University authorities have an array of tools to fight BDS resolutions. When students at Harvard University voted to divest from coal companies that contribute to environmental degradation, the university filed a petition in court against the resolution.
The real issue, however, is delegitimization. Even when a particular petition or resolution is rejected or overturned by the court, the surrounding publicity is never good news.
DIASPORA By JPOST.COM STAFF \ 02/18/2015 13:11
Stanford University student senate passes Israel divestment resolution
The same resolution had failed to pass in a vote last week.
The student senate at California's prestigious Stanford University approved Tuesday a resolution to support divestment from corporations identified as complicit in human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine, The Stanford Daily reported.
The same resolution had failed to pass in a vote last week, garnering only 64 percent approval from the senators, less than the required 66 percent approval.
The resolution was proposed by the Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine campus organization in the wake of last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. A petition against divestment was also launched January 21 by the Coalition for Peace against Israel divestment, amassing signatures from 1,600 students, faculty and alumni.
Tuesday's revote was passed with ten in favor of the bill, four against and one abstention.
The decision to allow a revote, taken by Senate chairwoman Ana Ordonez, was made after many senators maintained that the first vote had taken place in a hostile environment, the Daily reported. While the first vote was attended by some 400 people, there were only some 35 people at the second vote.
Ordonez had been driven to tears during the first vote, according to the paper, and had abstained. She brought forward the motion for a revote, voting in favor of divestment in the second vote. “Now that the noise has subsided, I know that I voted incorrectly,” the Daily quoted her as saying after the first vote.
The decision to allow a revote was not universally accepted. Senator Andrew Aude told the student paper, "The symbolism of divestment is lost if we go about it this way...It makes me want to bring a constitutional case against the Senate.”
The resolution which eventually gained passage clarifies that the measure was not connected to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, affirming "both Palestinian and Israeli right to life, security and self-determination.”