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ALERT: Sneak Passover Anti-Israel Divestment attack at Cornell

ALERT: Sneak Passover Anti-Israel Divestment attack at Cornell

Students for Justice in Palestine uses Passover holiday to put Jewish and pro-Israel groups at disadvantage

In a move reminiscent of the exploitation of the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday in 1973 to launch an attack on Israel, Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine has launched a last minute, sneak Divestment Resolution which is to come up for initial discussion on less than 48 hours notice this Thursday afternoon, April 10, at 4:30 p.m.

The notice was just posted on the Cornell Assembly website, although I heard rumors earlier today it might be coming.

Cornell Assembly Divestment Proposed April 8

The full Resolution linked on the Assembly website is embedded at the bottom of this post. Here’s the operative part:

(22) Be it resolved, that Cornell University will further examine its assets for investments in companies that a) provide military support for, or weaponry to, the occupation of Palestinian territory or b) facilitate the building or maintenance of the illegal separation wall or the demolition of Palestinian homes, or c) facilitate the building, maintenance or economic development of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory,

(23) Be it further resolved, that Cornell University will make information about all of its assets public, pertaining especially to its investments,

(24) And be it finally resolved, that Cornell University will end its complicity with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and divest its holdings from the aforementioned companies and any other companies that profit directly from Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Cornell University will not make further investments in companies that materially support or profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

Passover starts Monday night, April 14, and many Jewish students at Cornell leave on Thursday to head home for the holidays.

If the Resolution is not tabled on Thursday, the Resolution will come to a formal vote on the following Thursday, April 17, in the middle of Passover, just a day after Jewish students return to campus after Passover Seders.

By so scheduling the Resolution, SJP and its supporters in the Student Assembly have sought to put Jewish students and campus groups at a disadvantage, literally forcing them to choose between celebrating the Jewish People’s Exodus from slavery in Egypt or organizing to fight the Divestment Resolution.

As discussed below, the intention to bring the Resolution to the Student Assembly was not made in regular order, was concealed from Jewish and pro-Israel groups on campus even though it has been in the works for weeks.


The Divestment Resolution has been in the works for weeks.  On March 28, the Cornell Muslim Educational and Cultural Association circulated an email to its members alerting them to the coming Resolution:

From: [xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Muslim Educational and Cultural Association
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 11:57 AM
Subject: Opportunities: Resolution and Petition

Assalamu Alaikum,

Below are some petitions/resolutions of interest to the Muslim community:

• Cornell SJP’s Divestment Resolution
• Petition on NYPD Surveillance Program of MSAs

MECA E-board

On March 29, the Cornell Divestment Event Facebook Page was created, the Saturday which started Spring Break Week, so students were away.  The details were listed on April 2, again while Cornell students were away.  Since the notice did not state that it was being brought to the Student Assembly, or when, even if a pro-Israel student had seen it, there would have been no notice of what was about to happen:

Cornell SJP Divestment Resolution Announcement Facebook April 2

The Google docs link led to a page that also did not disclose that the Resolution would shortly be brought to the Assembly:

Cornell SJP Resolution Comment Screen

The members of the Student Assembly who were likely to oppose the Resolution were kept in the dark.  Pro-Israel groups on campus were unaware.

Indeed, an Agenda for the April 10 Meeting was circulated earlier today that did not list the Divestment Resolution:

Cornell Student Assembly Original Agenda April 10, 2014

At 8:42 p.m. today, a Revised Agenda was issued, listing the Divestment Resolution.  The email attaching the Revised Agenda claimed that the delay in listing the Resolution was “due to an electronic error,” but that is pretextual.  Apparently the Resolution was not even formally submitted until late Sunday night.  At best, it would have been revealed to other Assembly members in the original Agenda distributed this afternoon — still only two days’ notice:

Cornell Student Assembly Revised Agenda April 10, 2014 marked

Putting the Resolution on for Thursday apparently was accomplished by bringing it unannounced before the Community Life Committee either late yesterday or today.  Although I don’t as of now understand the procedural mechanism, that permitted the Resolution to be added to the Agenda for Thursday as “new business.”

It is my understanding that no vote can take place this Thursday assuming the rules are followed.  But that assumes the rules are followed, and SJP’s supporters apparently will use whatever mechanisms they can to push this to a quick vote, so the possibility cannot be ruled out that something substantive may happen on April 10.

It is not really surprising that SJP is using this tactic, as its only recent success in the U.S. was at Loyola-Chicago, where pro-Israel students were ambushed with a surprise Resolution. It passed even on a second vote held shortly after the surprise, but by a much smaller margin. At UCLA, U. Michigan, Arizona State and elsewhere that pro-Israel groups have had time to organize, the Resolutions were defeated.

We are continuing to follow this and will add more details as they become known.

Cornell Divestment Resolution April 2014

[Note: This post has been updated and expanded multiple times since original publication as new information became available.]


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LukeHandCool | April 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Who’d have thunk to such a low they’d have sunk?

“Palestinian civil society”?
Nothing civil about the lowlife thugs that call themselves “Palestinian”. Their supporting such butchers shows how much they hate Jews.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Rebecca (at IC)


“By so scheduling the Resolution, SJP and its supporters in the Student Assembly have sought to put Jewish students and campus groups at a disadvantage, literally forcing them to choose between celebrating the Jewish People’s Exodus from slavery in Egypt or organizing to fight the Divestment Resolution.”

I hope Cornell’s Jewish students recognize the futility of celebrating Passover if they don’t organize and fight the Divestment Resolution even it means sacrificing family time.

If the spirit of Pharaoh still lives through the modern anti-Semite. So must the resolve of the children of Israel to resist him.

Can the students delegate/assign their vote? Can they vote by proxy?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to JohnG. | April 8, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Don’t know, it’s apparently just an assembly vote, not a vote by all students on campus.

April 25th Cornell is hosting Angela Davis for a prestigious lecture series hosted by the Graduate School. designed to “foster the intellectual exchange of ideas and help drive discussion of critical issues in the sciences and the humanities”
She is described in the lecture blurb as “Internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression”.

catchmeifyoucan | April 9, 2014 at 12:32 am

Not doubting that it was by no means a deliberate attempt by SJP, but hey, it’s politics. Quit crying and fight back. Comparing it to the Yom Kippur incident, Jesus Christ, you’d expect better from a man educated and trained to teach the legal system to our future lawyers.

On another note, it was by no means kept quiet. The divestment has been publicly circulating on facebook for weeks. If certain key people in the Jewish community were too slow to pick up on it, it sucks for them. Why would SJP be obliged to provide anyone with prior notification?

Finally, the email that circulated on the Muslim Educational Committees email was by no means supporting the divestment, it was merely informational – just as it would be if Hillel requested them to inform members of the Muslim community of events that might be of interest to them.

In summary, quit whining.

    Re: This has “been circulating on facebook for weeks”. Can you provide a link?
    The only mention on the Cornell SJP fb page from one week ago contains this statement “As we launch our divestment campaign, we ask you to show your support by signing onto our resolution, which will be discussed at the Student Assembly on April 17th” But April 17th is not the same thing as April 10th!

    Leo dam Hofshi in reply to catchmeifyoucan. | April 9, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Sure, all’s fair in love, war and politics. The aims of this resolution, however, like virtually all of the loathsome BDS maneuvers, are largely symbolic. Cornell is not going to stop its many collaborations with Israeli institutions – whatever happens to this BDS resolution – any more than individuals are going to stop buying Sodastream products as a result of pressure from the BDSers. Fortunately, Israel’s economy is too strong and its academic institutions too prestigious to be harmed by stunts like this one.

    That said, if the goals of the BDSers at Cornell are legitimate, they shouldn’t have any problem letting their proposal see the light of day and make their case in a more transparent way. After all, what is the symbolism of using stealth methods to pass a resolution that is abhorrent to many of the Jews at Cornell while they are away or otherwise preoccupied with a religious holiday?

LukeHandCool | April 9, 2014 at 3:07 am

“Not doubting that it was by no means a deliberate attempt by SJP, but hey, it’s politics.”

“On another note, it was by no means kept quiet.”


By all means does he understand by no means … by all appearances maybe at least half the time.

Yes, and we all know how well the Yom Kippur War turned out for the arabs who were hoping that attacking on that day would catch the Israelis unprepared.

When the dust cleared: Israel: 1, arabs: 0

So it has been for, oh I don’t know, 1000’s of years…

Juba Doobai! | April 9, 2014 at 8:18 am

Lying and sneaking behavior like this is native to Islam. When you can’t win fairly, lie, cheat, and do whatever it takes to win by any means necessary. Despicable.

This information should be passed on to the Hillel associations in all colleges in the USA because this tactic is likely to be countrywide during the holyday. Praemonitus, praemunitus.

Fight fire with fire. Introduce a divestment resolution from the Saudi entity on Eid.

Whereas, Palestinians, specifically members of BDS and, more specifically, the creators of the R-72 “Divest” Resolution promote the exact opposite of reconciliatory social justice thereby seeking to incite anti-civil acts toward the Jewish people and most certainly denying basic human rights and the right of free interaction of Israelis with those involved with the Israelis, whether through academics or business relationships and whereas R-72 further promotes the exclusion and harassment of Jews and the decimation of Israel through its associations with hate groups such as BDS it should be noted by the Cornell administration that R-72 may encourage campus hate speech toward Jews and perhaps violence.

Therefore, I recommend that the motion be dismissed forever or at least until the creators of R-72, the Palestinians and the BDS acknowledge the error of their ways and their lack of creating anything productive at all for mankind, their constant antipathy in place of good will…and the statehood of Israel.

Be it further resolved, that Cornell University will hold the creators of R-72, BDS or any such hate formations to be completely liable for any malfeasance towards Jews or any Jewish entity on Cornell’s Campus.

So be it.

The fix for this is relatively simple: call on the Christians.

This is not just a Jewish issue, even if Jews are the current target. The answer is to call on the friends of Jewish students, and ask them to stand in and report, explicitly as Christians.

I would solicit your attention to two books shared by Judaism and Christianity, the books of Esther and Ruth. Those two books show how the Jewish community was blessed by women who moved out of, and into, the community. I submit that, in the United States today, there are many Esthers and Ruths, amplified by their friends and family. Those friends and family can save you.

The BDS movement, aside from being unacademic, is also unChristian and unAmerican. The persecution of people based on their national origin is simply not our way. Ask for help. It will be there.

David Gerstman | April 9, 2014 at 10:18 am

Note how typical this is of the BDS. They use rules of order to allow a small group to win a procedural victory. Then after they stack the deck to win the limited victory they claim it represents a larger group. (This is exactly what you noted at the time of the ASA boycott and subsequently. This isn’t about open debate, but about making a small noise and amplifying and hoping that supposedly objective parties will help with that amplification and not look too closely at how those victories were won or the true motivations of the BDSers.

[…] learned that Cornell’s Students for Justice in Palestine has initiated a last-minute resolution that if passed would pressure the Ivy League institution to divest from companies that do business […]

If they go through with this, truthfully I can’t think of a better way of celebrating the Jewish People’s Exodus from slavery in Egypt than to show up and speak in opposition, especially if every speaker brings up the date and its historical significance. Hit back twice as hard.

[…] learned that Cornell’s Students for Justice in Palestine has initiated a last-minute resolution that if passed would pressure the Ivy League institution to divest from companies that do business […]

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[…] we are dealing with this right here in Ithaca on the Cornell campus. Legal Insurrection reported that Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine had tabled a Divestment resolution to take […]

[…] also the faculty adviser of the Cornell Review and can be heard in the video towards the end), in another blog post, also noted that the resolution’s submission was most likely specifically timed to coincide with […]

[…] on display, a divestment resolution suddenly appeared on the agenda of the Student Assembly at Dartmouth last Tuesday, which meant a vote on the matter would take place over the coming week.  Actually, […]

[…] the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) comes just days after the blog Legal Insurrection revealed that the Cornell University chapter of the pro-Palestinian student group scheduled a vote last week […]