Yale Student Government Passes Vile Anti-Israel Resolution (UPDATE: Yale Student Responds to LIF Coverage, Yale Professor Condemns Student Govt in Op-Ed)
With a new anti-Zionist student body president, it’s little wonder that Yale students frame hatred of Israel as “justice”.
In an age when nearly everyone appears keen to publicly prove their ‘woke’ credentials, students at Yale University refuse to be outdone. The quickest way to demonstrate your anti-racist bonafides on campus? Self-satisfied student government “resolutions” condemning only the Jewish State.
- 1 Anti-Israel Resolution at Yale
- 2 Yalies 4 Palestine and Friends
- 3 The Impact on Campus
- 4 Endgame: Jewish Silence, Subservience, and Submission
- 5 UPDATE, Thursday July 15, 2021: Yalies 4 Palestine Member Responds to LIF Coverage, and Yale Professor Condemns Anti-Israel Motion in Op-Ed
Anti-Israel Resolution at Yale
On the heels of Israel’s May 2021 battles with Hamas in Gaza, anti-Israel campus activists at Yale University are gearing up for the coming school year. Buoyed by the weeks of violent anti-Israel protests and attacks on Jews all over the world, several student organizations at Yale University recently teamed up to create and promote a resolution accusing Israel of the usual: “ethnic cleansing”, “genocide”, and “apartheid”.
On Sunday, June 27, the Yale undergraduate student government—Yale College Council (YCC)—reportedly passed the resolution in an 8-3 vote, with 4 abstentions. The body is currently led by Bayan Galal—Yale’s first Arab student body president, who also happens to be active in the anti-Israel community. (Note: This post’s featured image is a screenshot from a video of Galal speaking at a May 25, 2021 New Haven, CT protest “for Palestine and Colombia”. You can see her speech here.)
While the resolution itself consists of little more than boilerplate anti-Zionist falsehoods masquerading as liberal altruism, pro-Israel students returning to campus in the fall should be warned: the statement is likely just the beginning of the coming onslaught of hate.
On June 28, The Algemeiner reported,
The statement, presented by the group Yalies 4 Palestine and adopted by the Yale College Council on Sunday night, argued that Israeli policies toward the Palestinians was “not a political issue,” charging Israel with apartheid and linking its policies to police reform in the United States.
“As students at one of the most privileged academic institutions in the world, we must call out injustice wherever it may occur,” the statement said.
“We call upon Yale students to recognize the connections between the US’s domestic racial oppression and its imperial oppression of people of color worldwide,” it continued. “Just as Israel’s military enforces the apartheid system against Palestinians, the US police enforces the system of white supremacy against Black Americans.”
You can read the entire statement here or below.
Yalies 4 Palestine and Friends
The group “Yalies 4 Palestine” initially published the statement on recently opened social media accounts on May 12 in “Solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah“. Days later, a second group—purportedly a “collective of Jewish Yale students and alumni in solidarity with Yale Students4Palestine” calling itself “Yale Jews for Palestine”—issued a statement of support for the Yalies 4 Palestine “condemnation”.
(Interestingly, though the Yale Jews for Palestine statement was published publicly on Google Docs, the group adjusted the display settings so that downloading, printing, and copying and pasting any part of the text was blocked, as was taking a screenshot on mobile. But the document could be saved as a PDF, which you can also see here or below.)
Token Anti-Israel Jews
Predictably, Yalies 4 Palestine has been quick to tokenize the (self-described) Jews who support the anti-Israel statement, using their so-called Jewishness to preclude possible charges of bigotry and anti-Semitism.
I am a Black, Muslim college student who is educated. I know how harmful Zionism is to not only Palestinians, but also communities I am a part of-Black people, African refugees, Sudanese people, etc— f 🇸🇩 (@FatmaYasier) July 1, 2021
P.S. that statement was written by Jewish allies. I am not speaking over anyone https://t.co/a8qdpu2AZ5
This is what is actually important so please share this article and continue to uplift and center Palestinian and Jewish ally voices!— f 🇸🇩 (@FatmaYasier) July 2, 2021
Follow @Yalies4Palestine on Instagram, and stay tuned for more incredibly historic pro-Palestinian work that is coming soon. https://t.co/ITCnxEmQEj
“Censored” Palestinian Activism
Yet, in the same breath, like-minded students claim that “Palestinian activism” is censorsed and repressed at Yale.
Indeed, in a fawning piece about the YCC meeting at which the Council approved passage of Y4P’s resolution, The Arab American News reported,
Speakers in favor of the statement highlighted the worldwide support for Palestinian rights and the connection to racial injustice.
“Palestinian oppression is an issue of racial injustice,” said Ruqaiyah Damrah, a Yalies 4 Palestine member. “All ethnocentric violence is interdependent because it attempts to achieve and preserve the same hierarchies of erasure.”
Palestinian speakers expressed the reality of feeling unsafe on campus and of being actively suppressed by Yale administration and students.
“As a proud Palestinian student at Yale… having your signature will allow me to talk about my struggle, my culture, and my people without being attacked and called anti-Semitic,” said Shaheen, who has been called a terrorist for participating in protests at Yale for Palestinian rights.
Jewish speakers from Yale Jews for Palestine also spoke in favor of the statement, demanding that the YCC pass the resolution and refuting the notion that anti-Zionist sentiment is antisemitic.
“We offer our complete solidarity with Yalies 4 Palestine and note that their statement is significantly more moderate than our own,” said Ryan Gittler-Muñiz of Yale Jews for Palestine, which published its own statement condemning Israel’s actions on May 14th. “One of the reasons for this is that Palestinians on campus are forced to respond to bad-faith claims of anti-Semitism and terrorism before they can speak out about their own lived experiences of colonial occupation and dispossession.”
The Impact on Campus
Anti-Israel Activists’ Inflated Sense of Self-Importance
Despite Yalies 4 Palestine’s applause for its own work as an “historic” “turning point” for “Palestine” at Yale, it is doubtful that the resolution and its passage by the YCC will have any material effects on Yale University policy. Indeed, as a Yale Senior Associate Dean confirmed on Monday July 5, neither Yalies 4 Palestine nor Yale Jews for Palestine are registered student groups. Neither has any official affiliation with the school, and Yalies 4 Palestine only public social media page—its Instagram account—was only opened in May.
(Oddly, there seems to have already been a branch of Students for Justice in Palestine established at Yale since at least 2004, but, it too, is missing from the list of registered student groups at Yale, and its Facebook page has been inactive since December 2020. The group’s website has also been taken down. There have also been reports, since at least 2015, of Yale students echoing Y4P’s tired refrain that Israel is behind American anti-Blackness and White Supremacy.)
Desparate to Demonstrate ‘Woke’ Credentials
Instead, and rather than anything revolutionary, the Y4P statement and community approval more likely foreshadow a coming uptick in anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist harrassment and intimidation on Yale’s campus. In fact, Yalies 4 Palestine claims that its original statement has been signed by more than 50 campus organizations (though, of course, it’s not clear that all of them are registered, nor how many students they represent).
Many of these groups (such as the Yale Women’s Center, Disability Empowerment for Yale, the Yale Dramatic Association, the Environmental Education Collaborative, the Yale LGBTQ+ Coop, and African-Diaspora-focused acapella troop Shades of Yale) have nothing to do with Israel, or even the Middle East. And though most have never made or signed any other kind of statement about major international, systemic human rights abuses—such as the continuing Black African slave trade—in countries such as Qatar, Mauritania, Liberia, Iran, or Myanmar, they’ve apparently been only too happy to trumpet their own and Y4P’s supposed resistance against “all ethnocentric violence” and “injustice wherever it may occur”.
Jewish Students’ Warnings Go Unheeded
As Hillel student board co-presidents Ruthie Davis and Zevi Siegal stated during the June 27 YCC deliberations, passing Y4P’s declaration (not to mention student group support) will mean that,
“Severe condemnation becomes the new baseline, and those who fall short of that stand outside the community. … .“Not only does this cast aside students who support Israel, but without a neutral baseline, it makes it harder to maintain an environment of open dialogue and forces students, particularly Jewish students, to take a stance.”
The students also cited concerns about the statement’s coinciding with a national rise in antisemitism.
“This has been anything but a healthy situation for Jews at Yale,” Davis and Siegal said, noting recent incidents of harassment, violence, and vandalism of Jewish institutions following the May conflict. “Although much of this occurs far from Yale, the anxiety and fear is present nevertheless. YCC has done nothing to address that anxiety, but your signing on is likely to exacerbate it.”
Obviously, the YCC took little notice of Davis and Siegel’s warnings. And, unwilling to question Yalies 4 Palestine’s narrative or credentials, and certain of the moral superiority and factual accuracy of their position, Y4P and its fellow travelers are now poised to make this coming school year a trying one for Zionsts and Jews on campus.
Endgame: Jewish Silence, Subservience, and Submission
Ultimately, Y4P et. al. seek to create a campus environment in which Jews and Israelis are effectively forbidden from speaking up for themselves against malicious libel and slander, where love of Israel is an indifensible perspective, and where community inclusion is contingent on submission to Y4P’s vision of the future. The Yale College Council has just taken a step forward in that direction.
UPDATE, Thursday July 15, 2021: Yalies 4 Palestine Member Responds to LIF Coverage, and Yale Professor Condemns Anti-Israel Motion in Op-Ed
After we published this piece, a Tweet I posted on the topic apparently evoked some ire in one Yalies 4 Palestine member.
My latest: W/ a deeply anti-Israel prez, @theYCCtweets somehow passes a grossly mendacious motion authored primarily by an unregistered, unofficial student group (Yalies4Palestine).— Samantha Rose Mandeles (@SRMandeles) July 6, 2021
A @Yale official clarified to me that Y4P isn't even a Yale org. https://t.co/ZCjOhD7TeM
A recent graduate of Yale, and the apparent author of Yalies 4 Palestine’s adulatory press release celebrating the Yale College Council vote, one Faith Vasquez sent a direct message to my Twitter account in an effort to explain some of the finer points of the YCC’s decision-making process:
I wanted to clarify to you even though I know you won’t publish it or care- the YCC president had no vote or influence on the vote. It’s only student senators. The President and VP followed all procedure in palce for when approached with such a statement or proposal…also Yalies 4 Palestine never claimed to be a student group, but a campaign sponsored by two official groups that are registered at Yale
🚨Please share this press release from Yalies 4 Palestine as we try to spread news of the historic vote by the Yale College Council to condemn the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. If @yaledailynews won't cover us, we'll make our own press! pic.twitter.com/g8eThl0bXw— #SaveSilwan (@rgittm) June 30, 2021
Of course, it is difficult to confirm these claims, given that YCC procedures and proceedings do not appear to be all that transparent. For example, its website is marked “private” and seems to be only accessible to Yale community members, the last list of officers available on its Facebook page is from the 2013-2014 school year, the newest video posted on its YouTube channel is from 2018, the last YCC tweet is dated September 2020, and nothing on any of its social media that I could find addresses its recent anti-Israel vote. Moreover, the the latest meeting minutes or records I could find are dated from the 2019-2020 school year, and, along with publicly-accessible pages from the YCC’s website, only exist on the Wayback Machine’s Internet Archive.
And though the university has also been largely silent on the controversy, one Yale professor managed to speak out. Dr. Evan Morris, a scholar at Yale’s medical school, issued a strident condemnation of the YCC’s shortsightedness in The Algemeiner:
I was dismayed to learn of the Yale College Council (YCC) vote to condemn Israel and equate her with apartheid South Africa or to suggest that the country engages in genocide. Neither circumstances nor history support such malicious claims. The invalidity of these analogies is evident to any thinking student of history, one who reads books and studies events — not one who gets all her facts from a single newspaper with a pronounced slant, or worse, a mendacious tweet.
I am frankly disappointed that the Yale administration has been embarrassingly silent in response to an explosion of antisemitism in the US, driven by lies proffered in and out of government and by statements like that of the YCC.
But I am doubly disappointed that Yale students, scholars-in-training, would so readily swallow the false claims underlying the YCC action.
…For students on the YCC and elsewhere who aspire to be true scholars in the Yale tradition, and not merely uneducated bomb-throwers, I offer my earnest counsel as an educator and invite them to commence on their journey of self-education.
Head over to The Algemeiner to read Dr. Morris’ full article.
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