GSOC Voting on Boycott of Israel

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group are working to stop the Israel’s military presence in Palestine.

In mid-April the NYU Graduate School Organizing Committee will vote in a referendum on whether to participate in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the state of Israel.

The BDS movement is an international movement working to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. Within the GSOC, the movement will work primarily to stop funding international and Israeli companies that violate Palestine’s human and civil rights, stop further communication with these companies in the future and encourage NYU to close their Tel Aviv campus.

NYU is the only private university whose graduate student union has considered joining BDS. David Klassen, a fourth year Ph.D. student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, is hopeful that NYU will set a precedent for others to follow.

“We’ll signal to other people that this is something that has momentum and we’ll see other universities other unions, other student groups take similar steps,” Klassen said.


Klassen is one of the chief organizers of the referendum and stands on the GSOC caucus for BDS.

“It is incumbent upon people, upon the world, to listen to people who are in situations of occupation and oppression and figure out what we can do to alleviate that situation and make sure that everyone’s human rights are respected,” Klassen said.

GSOC obtained signatures from 10 percent of its members to hold the referendum and the GSOC assembly of stewards has planned a series of town hall discussion events, the second of which will take place on Wednesday, March 30. All groups and organizers within GSOC will be able to voice their opinions at these town halls before the vote in April. 

Communication steward of GSOC from the Academic Workers for a Democratic Union and Steinhardt student Anne Pasek said GSOC must allow the membership to democratically decide the will of our union, even if it means considering polarizing topics.

“As the Assembly of Stewards, our priority is to ensure that this vote is as democratic as possible with as much opportunity for dialog, because we know that this is one of the more challenging topics to discuss today,” Pasek said.

The pending referendum has sparked tension among the different organizers and groups within GSOC, angering some students by the committee’s mere consideration of joining the BDS movement. The opposition is equally as passionate to stop BDS from
being adopted. 

Samuel Zerin, a Ph.D. student in musicology and an organizer for GSOC Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine said he was strongly against the referendum, citing BDS’ demonization of Israel, and the organization’s suppression of dialogue.

“One of my many concerns about BDS is not simply that is demonizes Israel as an ‘apartheid’ and ‘colonial’ state, but that its activists use this rhetoric in such ambiguous and normalizing ways,” Zerin said.

A version of this article appeared in the March 28 print edition. Email Olivia Roos at [email protected]



  1. Hopefully the students of NYU have enough on the ball to defeat this gulf state-funded movement of newspeack/hate speech and thuggery.

  2. “In other news, _____ Chapter of Students for Justice in Tibet have insisted that the university cease doing business with any Chinese company.” – Imaginary news report that would never occur because the bigots who attack Israel don’t actually care about “occupation,” they want to destroy the Jewish State.

  3. Google “gays” and “Palestinians” to see how gay people are treated by the people who are calling for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. The first search result is titled, “Palestinian gays flee to Israel”

    Google “Palestinian” and “honor killings” to see how women are treated by the people who are calling for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

    If you are a femalel student (or alumna) who is thinking about going to “Palestine” to help protest against the Evil Zionists, I suggest that you first read “Female Palestinian Peace Activists Suffer Sexual Harassment, Rape From Palestinians” (just Google on the title). You might want to reconsider.

    As a final note, look up Israel’s and the Palestinians’ relative political and civil rights ratings at Israel’s are close to the best possible while those under both Hamas and Fatah are almost the worst possible.

    Now, please explain to me again who is guilty of crimes, apartheid policies (e.g. dhimmis or second-class citizens in countries under militant Islamic rule), and so on. I have not even touched on the Palestinians’ long litany of mindless terroristic violence including the Munich Massacre, the massacre of the Fogel family including young children in their beds, and so on.

  4. • In the world of the BDS (Bigoted, Discriminatory Scumbags) movement, Palestinian nationalism is OK, Muslim nationalism is OK, Arab nationalism is OK, but Jewish nationalism is evil and must be erased/destroyed.
    And in the world of BDS, democracies are OK, except if they result in a Jewish state. So, if people vote, and choose to define their state as Muslim, or Arab, that’s OK. But if people vote, and choose to define their state as Jewish, that’s NOT OK, and the solution is to add 5 million Jew-hating Palestinians into that state, AND THEN VOTE AGAIN, and when Jews are now voted out of existence, and Israeli Jews become a hated minority under an Islamic majority that hates their guts, THAT is “justice” in the eyes of the BDS psychopaths.

  5. BDS is an anti-Semitic, racist movement, plain and simple. There are 49 Muslim majority countries in the world that identify themselves as Muslim and where Islam is considered the official religion of the state. But the BDS movement doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. They have a problem with only one nation, the Jewish one, which they wish to be supplanted with yet another dysfunctional Muslim state.

  6. Trying to demonize, delegitimize and apply double standards against a pluralistic, tolerant and democratic state such as Israel, by siding with genocidal groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, has nothing to do with human rights. It is just raw, undisguised anti-Semitism.

  7. David, why is it Muslims are free to violently conquer lands anywhere and everywhere without a word of protest from you?
    But if Jews have a legally established homeland Muslims and Liberals and their ilk will never stop protesting against it? Why is this do you suppose? What explanation can be given other than as the Qur’an states repeatedly that Islam’s goal is to establish a worldwide caliphate in which all non-Muslims are subjugated.

    For instance, Mohammed was born around 571 AD thousands and
    thousands of years after Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism existed. But within a
    few centuries of Mohammed’s birth Islam had violently conquered vast sections
    of Asia, all of North Africa and smaller sections of Southern Europe. This is Islam’s way, not the Jew’s way. Jews control next o no land despite their being around for thousands of years before the imperialistic religion of Islam began.
    Now Muslims tell us that all this land belongs to them even though, for instance, in Afghanistan they killed every last Buddhist who once lived there. According to Muslim logic per Israel shouldn’t this land belong to the Buddhists? How do you explain the difference, David? Are there special rules for Israel? Is that what you’re telling us>
    Or in North Africa all the Berbers have been forcibly converted to Islam or have been killed and now we’re told all this vast landmass belongs to Islam. That’s interesting, if not completely hypocritical.

    And what about Southern Thailand. Did anyone know that in the last several years something like 5,000 Buddhists have been killed by Muslims because, or so we’re told, the land the Buddhists are on belongs to Islam. Why isn’t there an end the Occupation of Thailand movement? Or might that hurt the oh-so sensitive Muslim’s feelings?
    And Southern Russia? Muslims are relentlessly waging a slow reign of terror in Russia because, you guessed it, Russians are treating Muslims poorly and they should give up the Southern section of that country to Muslims since Islam deserves all lands.
    Or, let’s take Sudan as another example. How many millions have been killed in Sudan? How many babies and children have starved in Sudan while Islamists steal the food from aid compounds? How many women have Muslims
    gang-raped in Sudan all because that land belongs to Muslims and only Muslims.
    All other people can go somewhere else to live, I guess. They can go to South
    Sudan, but wait a minute, now Muslims are killing the people of South Sudan
    And Kashmir? The same. Despite Hindus having lived there for 3,000 years – something like 2,000+ years before Mohammed was born – Muslims
    tell us Kashmir belongs to them. Amazing logic isn’t it? Muslim logic, I guess. David’s logic, I guess.

    And that brings us to Israel. Israel also belongs to Islam too. Did you know that? It’s true. Just ask a Muslim or a liberal if you prefer. Even though it’s no bigger than a small pimple on the caliphate’s ass it is still their land and they will fight to the death to prove their point.
    Doesn’t the logic here make a lot of sense. Isn’t it as clear as day? Of course it does. The world belongs to Islam and we’re mere players on their stage. And thanks to people like David this is happening before our very eyes.

  8. As a Jewish NYU GSAS alum and as someone who organized with GSOC for many years, I’m proud of my union for daring to take up the question of acting in solidarity with the many activists fighting for justice in Palestine.

  9. Re “The BDS movement is an international movement working to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine.”

    You seem to neglect that Palestine is set for the National Home for the Jewish People in International Law, and that its illegal occupation and annexation by Jordan ended in 1967 in a defensive war when Israel returned the Judea and Samaria areas of Palestine to their rightful owners.


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