How could a vote to boycott Israel pass at the City University of New York?By voting on the Sabbath, of course.
Pro-Israel student activists and others accuse CUNY’s Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) of intentionally trying to silence opposition to the measure by holding the vote at a day and time not amenable to many who would speak out against the divestment resolution.
The vote was quietly publicized earlier this week only among its supporters, spurring accusations that the DSC is attempting to ram through the divestment measure without input from pro-Israel voices, according to sources who were only made aware of the situation after an internal DSC email about the vote was leaked.
The DSC, a student body group that claims to represent popular opinion, first informed its members of the upcoming vote last Friday, Sept. 5, according to a copy of the email message obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Dominique Nisperos, the DSC’s co-chair for communications, informed members that no materials about the resolution would be handed out, a decision that has raised concerns among critics.
“In the interest of being environmentally friendly, we will not provide printed copies of the attached documents at the meeting,” the email said, urging members to “solicit input” from other students about the resolution. “Please arrange to have electronic or paper copies of these materials for your reference at the meeting.”
This is the second time that the DSC will put forth a divestment resolution, which is part of a larger campaign by anti-Israel activists on campus to further the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to wage an economic and cultural war on the Jewish state. DSC attempted to pass such a resolution in May.
The DSC resolution seeks to enact a boycott of Israeli universities and companies, according to a copy of the measure obtained by the Free Beacon. Critics call the move an insult to free speech and an attempt to discriminate against Israel.
“They have not been particularly forthcoming about it,” said one student who requested anonymity due to the heightened tensions surrounding such votes on campus. “They haven’t made much of an effort to tell the students what they’re doing.”
The date and time of the vote also “suggests they’re basically hijacking a false mandate that they claim to have of representing the students, and unfortunately there’s nobody countering it,” the student said. “The fact it’s going to be this Friday night, and so little time to give people warning of this meeting, makes it difficult for many to come, particularly because of Shabbat. Friday night is not a popular time for being on campus.”CUNY is not the first university where this kind of foilershtick has been tried either.
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