I reported the other day how U. Penn anti-Israel students try backdoor divestment ploy:
I will give the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement credit for one thing: It is highly adaptive.
The run-of-the mill anti-Israel divestment pushes on college campuses have had only mild success. Most often the attempt to get student government to endorse a boycott of companies doing business in Israel has failed, but there have been some successes, particularly in the U. California system….
By contrast, divestment from fossil fuels is gaining some traction even at the administrative level, because there is more of a student and campus consensus.
It was only a matter of time that BDS tried to co-opt a larger issue to use against Israel. Some anti-Israel groups at the University of Pennsylvania seem to think they have found a broader theme: Divestment from companies causing “displacement” of people.
I don’t believe in coincidences. When BDS switches tactics at multiple campuses, it’s almost certainly part of a broader shift. One of the many great frauds of the BDS movement is the impression it conveys of grassroots activism, when in fact it is highly coordinated.
So it is no great surprise that anti-Israel students and faculty at New York University are following the path taken at U. Penn., to link divestment from Israel to other unrelated divestment movements.
Liel Leibovitz at The Tablet Magazine, writes At NYU, BDS Goes Stealthy: Divestment movement on campus attempts to link Israel and fossil fuels:
… NYU’s BDS gang found an innovative solution: bait, then switch.
Last week, an email from a self-described “coalition of students and faculty called NYU Out of Occupied Palestine” was sent around to the NYU community, with a 14-page packet attached. The upcoming faculty forum, it informed its readers, will focus on the general question of divestment: from questionable labor practices in the university’s satellite campus in Abu Dhabi, from fossil fuels, and from Israel. On that last count, the event’s organizers doubled down on perfidy: ostensibly focusing on companies that “profit from the occupation of Palestine and fossil fuels,” the information packet goes on to highlight the recent boycotts of Israel by academic institutions like the American Studies Association. The message is clear: if you support divesting from companies that profit from fossil fuels, you must also support divesting from companies that do business with Israel, and if you support that, well, you must also boycott Israeli universities and scholars.
“The twinning of a radical proposal to divest from Israel with the broadly shared concerns around fair labor and fossil fuels is outrageous,” said Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the executive director of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU. “Unfortunately, savvy political organizers are manipulating NYU faculty instruments to advance one-sided moves which mock the freedom to exchange ideas this university holds dear.”
The Faculty Forum devoted to anti-Israel activism describes the effort to co-opt the other movements as follows:
In response to the growing concern over transparency at our university, particularly in relation to the nature of NYU’s investments and labor practices in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, the Faculty of Arts & Sciences is holding a forum on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.
Organized by NYU Out of Occupied Palestine, NYU Divest, and the Coalition for Fair Labor at NYU, this forum will build on efforts to increase transparency and include faculty, students and staff in university governance.
From the forum, we hope to achieve:
1. Awareness. We believe that NYU faculty have a responsibility to build awareness on issues of community concern. This forum will facilitate discussion on NYU’s exploitative labor practices and irresponsible investments in corporation that are culpable for ecological destruction and potential war crimes against Palestinians;
2. Transparency. We call on NYU to reveal its confidential code of conduct on labor on satellite campuses, disclose its investments to the university community, and form a committee of students and faculty authorized to monitor its financial holdings;
3. A human rights screen. The appointed monitoring committee will ensure that current and future investments are made responsibly and meet human rights standards, and begin a divestment process to dissociate from companies that violate this standard, including the top 200 fossil fuel companies as well as companies that profit from the illegal occupation of Palestine.
This comes just two weeks after as fossil fuel divestment momentum at NYU has gained much publicity.
The fossil fuel divestment resolution was rejected by a faculty senate working group, but nonetheless, the anti-Israel movement is trying to piggyback on the perceived momentum.
More than 130 New York University faculty members are calling for the school to divest its $3.4 billion endowment from publicly traded oil, natural gas and coal companies.
NYU currently has about $139 million invested in the fossil-fuel industry, according to an e-mailed statement from the group known as NYU Divest, which also includes students and staff. Faculty from the school’s campuses worldwide began collecting signatures last month for a letter delivered Monday to President John Sexton, who will step down next year.
The NYU faculty are joining a growing chorus from institutions including Stanford University, Harvard University and Columbia University in petitioning leadership to end financial support of industries that contribute directly to climate change. The NYU letter cited past examples of how divestment was used to combat apartheid in the 1980s and argued that fossil fuels stocks may be overvalued, posing a financial risk to the endowment.
Not surprisingly, NYU Prof. Lisa Duggan, is on the petition for divestment from Israel. Duggan, as President of the American Studies Association has led the anti-Israel academic boycott and used her position at NYU to promote boycott organizing.
This effort is just the opposite. It’s a hijacking of divestment movements that have broad support on campuses, such as fossil fuel, in the cause of bashing Israel.
Expect more of this. There are no coincidences when it comes to the anti-Israel divestment movement on campuses.
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