Student Government to Vote on BDS Resolution Today

Six students for and against the resolution will voice their thoughts before a vote by secret ballot.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement hopes to end support for Israel until the country ends occupation of Palestinian territory. (via bdsmovement.net)

[The resolution passed. Read our coverage of the vote here.]

A resolution that would have NYU divest from three companies associated with the Israeli military and institute an investment policy more conscientious of human rights will be voted on by secret ballot on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Presented by Senators at-Large Rose Asaf and Bayan Abubakr and Alternate Senator at-Large Leen Dweik, the “Resolution on the Human Rights of Palestinians” calls on the university to dissolve any connections with Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar Inc. and General Electric unless the companies ensure that their products are not used by the Israeli government. It would also put in place a system to screen future investments NYU makes to require that the university does not do business with companies complicit in human rights violations.

Whether or not this resolution is about the BDS movement, which Zionist groups have called anti-Semitic, has been debated. The resolution mentions BDS in its body and footnotes, however, it would not result in an implementation of BDS at NYU.

A Zionist group, Realize Israel has been one of the main voices of opposition to the resolution, releasing a video on Tuesday describing a campus climate they feel is discriminatory and encouraging senators to vote no on the resolution. The video also highlighted a point Cojab brought up previously — a lack of representation for Zionist students in student government.

Six previously selected students will speak for and against the resolution, after which senators will vote by secret ballot. This is for the purpose of protecting senators from persecution based on how they vote, according to Asaf. However, some students, such as President of NYU Realize Israel Adela Cojab, have said that this frees senators from accountability.

On Wednesday, WSN received an anonymous letter through email which was also sent to a handful of Jewish groups, according to a member of Realize Israel. The letter and the sender’s email address implies it was from a student senator, although WSN was not able to confirm this. The anonymous author claims that at a function attended by members of student government, the author and others were pressured to vote yes on the resolution, regardless of their constituents views, or be socially ostracized by other representatives.

In response to the letter, Student Government Assembly Chair Hüsniye Çöğür emphasized that there is no way to verify that a senator wrote the letter, and that there are many individuals very unhappy with the resolution who could’ve crafted a “fake letter” to derail the vote.

“Student government’s only recent functions have been organized meetings and no one on leadership is aware of any conversation about pressuring individuals to vote a certain way,” she told WSN. “We do not condone intimidation or unethical tactics to sway our members to vote one way or another. If remotely true, we encourage anyone to approach us if they have witnessed or experienced this type of behavior.”

This is a developing story. This article will be updated as WSN gains new information.

Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].

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