February 23, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Divestment Sure to Return to UC:

[Editor’s note: This is an abbreviated and edited excerpt of Thomas Elias’s originally submitted column.]

The most contentious issue University of California campuses last year was whether the Board of Regents should divest itself of investments in companies that help supply Israel’s military, specifically General Electric and United Technologies.

The divestment proposal considered by student senates at Berkeley and San Diego campuses was based on claims that Israel has committed war crimes and the two companies aid and abet that by supplying aircraft engines, helicopters, and other military equipment. The margins by which the divestment demands lost were so narrow that this proposal is certain to be back during the next school year.

… [It is important to look at where many of these divestment calls come from on] UC campuses, where residents of Muslim countries make up a large portion of the almost 12,000 foreign students, whose ultra-high out-of-state tuition and fees subsidize the educations of thousands of in-state resident students. Their governments, and their often oil-wealthy parents, also donate additional funds to various campuses.

… Each claim these students regularly make against Israel [need context]. Complaints about the security fence, for instance, ignore the many suicide bombings carried out by Palestinians in the years before the barrier went up and the fact that now there are almost none. [Additionally, the notion that] Israel deprives Palestinians of civil rights ignores the free elections held in the West Bank and Gaza, which most recently produced the radically anti-Israel Hamas-led government of Gaza. It also ignores the fact that Israel’s Arab citizens, all ethnic Palestinians, enjoy the same rights as other Israelis, more civil rights and freedoms than are possessed by any Arab populace in any Arab nation.

The allegations of war crimes during Israel’s most recent incursion into Gaza, claims that Israel deliberately bombed schools and hospitals, ignore the fact – verified by international observers – that Hamas combatants regularly took shelter in such buildings (a war crime), using their occupants as human shields while they fired at Israeli troops. Claims that the incursion itself was illegal under international law consistently ignore thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel during several prior years.

Given these facts, the remarkable thing was that any resolution demanding divestment from companies doing business with Israel could get anywhere. But the political determination of Muslim students at UC campuses gives them on-campus clout out of all proportion to their numbers.

Which means there’s a very good chance these resolutions will pass next year, placing Berkeley or any other UC campus that okays them among the most radically anti-Israel student bodies in the world …

The Muslims and their allies, who include some leftist Jewish students and faculty, claim all this is not anti-Semitism. But the resolution at Berkeley singled out Israel, while ignoring all human rights violations in counties like Iran, Russia, Sudan, China and Rwanda, all among the most egregious violators of human rights on the planet, some of them sites of mass slaughters. If singling out the Jewish state for special condemnation … is not anti-Semitism, it’s hard to see what is.

in Opinion
Related Posts

S.M.a.r.t Column: Top Toady Town

February 18, 2024

February 18, 2024

Throughout history, from the ancient Romans and Assyrians to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, siege warfare has served as an...

S.M.a.r.t Column: The Sunset of Home Ownership

February 11, 2024

February 11, 2024

We are watching the sunset of our historical and cultural American dream of home ownership as we now are crossing...

SMa.r.t. Column: B(U)Y RIGHT

February 4, 2024

February 4, 2024

“By Right” state housing laws that give developers, in certain projects, the ability to ignore codes ‘by right.’ Well, that...

S.M.a.r.t  Column: Serf City

January 28, 2024

January 28, 2024

Homelessness is a problem in California, and nowhere is this more evident than in our fair city, where the unhoused...

S.M.a.r.t  Column: Bond Fatigue

January 22, 2024

January 22, 2024

Last week’s SMart article,  described two critical problems faced by our Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD): the declining...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Peace on Earth

December 27, 2023

December 27, 2023

We are all, by now, saturated with jingles, holiday cards, “ho ho ho’s,” countless commercial advertisements, and exhortations to feel...

S.M.a.r.t Column: On the Clock with Mayor Brock

December 17, 2023

December 17, 2023

I became Santa Monica’s Mayor on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, following a simple “switch of the chairs” transition with outgoing...

S.M.a.r.t Column: SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL 2024

December 10, 2023

December 10, 2023

Position:Seeking Santa Monica City Council Candidate(s) Introduction:Exciting opportunity for the right candidate(s) to work with like-minded Council members committed to...

S.M.a.r.t Column: ARB (NOT Ready to Build!)

December 3, 2023

December 3, 2023

Santa Monica City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB), established in 1974, acts “…to preserve existing areas of natural beauty, cultural importance...

SMa.r.t. Column: We are thankful for….

November 27, 2023

November 27, 2023

SMa.r.t. would like to wish you all a great Thanksgiving with friends and family and also to thank its readers...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Make the City New Again

November 19, 2023

November 19, 2023

When the COVID crisis struck, it cut the city’s income in half, demolishing many businesses and causing widespread layoffs and...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Four Futures

October 29, 2023

October 29, 2023

As well described by Paul Krugman, all cities have a core competency: things they do well or better regionally or...

SMa.r.t column: Beautiful Quartz Countertops Are Hurting Workers and Should Be Banned

October 9, 2023

October 9, 2023

Quartz countertops are super popular because they’re tough and can handle stains, scratches, and heat. But there’s a big problem:...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Architect’s Son Reflects On Civic Auditorium

October 2, 2023

October 2, 2023

Welton (David) Becket (1902-1969), pictured above, backed by a picture of our Civic Auditorium, was the designer of that famed...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Civic Center Debate

September 24, 2023

September 24, 2023

Civic Center Debate Last year, the City declared the Civic Center Auditorium surplus property after a decade of neglect and...