April 2018 — In another victory for the Palestinian rights movement on U.S. college campuses, students at elite Barnard College in New York City voted nearly two-thirds in favor of a referendum supporting divestment from companies profiting from Israeli war crimes and dispossession of Palestinians, most recently the slaughter of unarmed protestors at a border fence by Israeli army snipers.
Concerning the murder of Palestinian civilians, including Palestinian children, Israeli General Zvika Fogel stated on Israeli radio April 21: “… if that’s the price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the State of Israel, then that’s the price.”
Barnard College, a partner of Columbia University, is a prestigious women’s college with a large Judaic student population. Students say that despite attempts to influence votes against the referendum, including smears accusing supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement of “anti-Semitism,” the referendum was approved on April 18.
The referendum result comes in spite of recent attempts by the Barnard administration and Israeli lobby groups to bully, intimidate and smear students and faculty supportive of Palestinian rights at Columbia University and Barnard College.
Earlier this month, Columbia dismissed a lengthy complaint against Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) by Students Supporting Israel (SSI) a national campus organization which is backed by Israel lobby groups and has ties to the Israeli government (imagine the outcry if a national campus organization had ties to the Russian government).
The companies that organizers of the referendum have targeted for boycott and divestment are:
According to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Zionists’ complaint alleged that campus speech supporting Palestinian rights violated New York criminal law!
Students for Justice in Palestine notes that since 2016, the group Students Supporting Israel has filed “several complaints against professors and students for speech critical of Israeli policies,” but every complaint has been dismissed.
Barnard’s alumnae, who count among their number actress and New York City mayoral candidate Cynthia Nixon, and entrepreneur and food personality Martha Stewart, are known for their strong connection to their alma mater.
After Barnard students cast ballots that backed the boycott, a group of some 3,000 alumni pushed back with a petition condemning the referendum. They include Barnard board of trustees members Nina Rennert Davidson, and Ruth Horowitz, as well as former president of the New Israel Fund Naomi Chazan, and former Barnard Dean Dorothy Denburg.
Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock responded to the referendum on April 22 with defiance, saying that Barnard would not take any action to divest its endowment from companies complicit in the oppression of Palestinians: “First, taking an institutional stand amid the complexities of the Mideast conflict would risk chilling campus discourse on a set of issues that members of our community should be able to discuss and debate freely. Choosing a side therefore would be inconsistent with our mission,” President Beilock wrote.
This is arrant nonsense. In the past Barnard took “an institutional stand” against apartheid in South Africa and the former white government there, notwithstanding the “complexities of the conflict.”
Those on the justice for Palestine side of the debate, are ecstatic after hearing the results of the referendum, sensing that the tide may be changing in support of their cause, though they were disappointed to read President Beilock’s letter.
Meanwhile, at New York University (NYU), which has a satellite campus in Tel Aviv, more than fifty student groups recently endorsed a boycott of Israeli goods and academic institutions in an effort organized by NYU’s Jewish Voice for Peace.
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, executive director of NYU’s “Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life,” called the boycott “a source of sorrow and disappointment to me.”
As a fall-back position, Zionists are claiming that the “boycott Israel” BDS movement is “creating an unsafe space on our campus.”
This exemplifies the politically correct notion that the expression of certain kinds of political speech is dangerous and should be forbidden at colleges and universities. When the Left exhibits this attitude toward speech by conservatives and Republicans, Right wing newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal publish op-eds and editorials decrying it. Yet when it is Right wing Zionists who are demanding limits on freedom of speech at colleges, the Neocons are silent.
Furthermore, watch for “anti-semitic incidents” clandestinely perpetrated by the Zionists themselves to erupt on these campuses as the last resort of those who have no other argument by which they can defeat the growing youth movement working for justice for Palestinians. The Deep State may also unleash neo-Nazi paraders at Barnard and NYU for the same purpose, to generate sympathy for the Israelis and associate the movement for Palestine “with a rising tide of anti-Semitism.”
These tactics have less effectiveness than ever in a new media age where websites and Twitter and Facebook operate independent of the mainstream media and supply coverage of the slaughter of Palestinians in graphic detail, whereby the true nature of the genocidal Israeli government, increasingly staffed and led by hardcore Talmudic racists, cannot be denied.