Should supporters of Israel now boycott Vassar?
In a vote tonight, the Vassar College Student Association (VSA) council passed by a vote of 15-7 an anti-Israel Resolution which adopts the full BDS movement list of demands and calls for divestment from certain companies. The BDS Resolution was a joint effort of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.
A student representative of Jewish Voice for Peace stated opposition to the State of Israel, as tweeted by the student newspaper. I have confirmed with someone in the room that the statement actually was made, and that it was by a JVP student:
The Vassar administration has already stated it will not honor the student government BDS resolution.
Students can petition to send the BDS Resolution to the full student body for a vote, which could effectively veto the Resolution. The student newspaper states:
To bring the resolution to student referendum, the VSA needs 150 signatures (5% of student body). To bring the amendment to referendum it would need 450 signatures (15% of student body).
At McGill University in Montreal, very recently, a BDS resolution passed the student assembly but was rejected by the student body.
The vote on the BDS Resolution was taken anonymously after the VDS council passed a change to its normal open procedures. An amendment to the VSA bylaws that would have prohibited using VSA funds to purchase goods from those companies failed to achieve the 2/3 majority needed, 12-10.
The fate of the vote likely was sealed when the Vassar administration indicated it might take control of VSA funds away from VSA. From what I have heard from students, that created a situation in which supporting the resolution was viewed as an act of pushback against the administration.
A counter-resolution proposed by J Street U was rejected by the VSA council.
The vote takes place after weeks of campus tension, as reflected in our prior posts (see bottom of this post for list).
Nonetheless, this raises an interesting question.
The VSA, which represents the entire student body, has voted to impose collective punishment on Israeli Jews. How would the student body react if that logic of collective punishment were imposed on them, and employers refused to hire students from, alumni to donate to, and parents to send their children to Vassar? That would be grossly unfair to the student body, but it would mirror what VSA has done to Israeli Jews.
Our prior posts (in reverse chronological order):
- Vassar student gov’t may lose control of funding if passes BDS resolution (Update)
- Vassar anti-Israel activists attempt stealth academic boycott Resolution
- Vassar student council will vote anonymously on Israel boycott resolution
- Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: “Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar”
- Blaming the messenger: Vassar Pres says social media mischaracterizes campus anti-Semitism
- Vassar student: “F*ck Jews” really only means F*ck Israel-supporting Jews
- Vassar faculty-sponsored anti-Israel event erupts in controversy
- Reports of anti-Semitic messages after Vassar BDS launch