Victories against BDS: The College Campus

The delegitimization movement has to date had no impact on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Like the Arab League’s economic boycott, which began before the establishment of Israel, and remains in force today, BDS initiatives will not force Israel to disappear or to capitulate to demands that compromise its security.

BDS advocates, nevertheless, are determined to impose costs on Israel and its supporters by engaging in a global campaign of harassment. Like the shoe bomber who failed to blow up an airplane, but forced the world to take off its shoes at airport security checkpoints, BDS supporters force the expenditure of resources to prevent them from succeeding.

Even when they fail, BDS advocates often claim victory in the hope that the perception of winning will create momentum for their cause. Institutions that allow BDS initiatives to be launched on campus should be aware that BDS supporters may report success even when there is none, to the detriment of the university’s reputation.

Check this page to find out the truth about claims of BDS victories and to learn about their defeats.

Hampshire College: Beyond Exaggeration

  • In February 2009, PACBI’s Web site triumphantly blared that “as a direct result of a two-year intensive campaign by the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine,” Hampshire College had become the “first college in U.S. to divest from Israeli Occupation!”
  • Shortly afterward, however, a joint public statement of clarification by Hampshire College’s President, Vice President, and Board of Trustees Chair explained that “the investment committee’s decision [to transfer assets held in a State Street fund to another fund] …did not pertain to a political movement and it was not made in reference to Israel.” Click here for the complete statement.
  • Despite the fact that Hampshire clearly did not divest, the BDS Movement still claims it as a victory and even held a BDS conference in honor of its one-year anniversary.

Harvard Hoax

  • In August 2010, an Israeli business newspaper reported that the Harvard Management Company had sold its shares of stock in all Israeli companies. Supporters of the BDS claimed victory, declaring that Harvard had divested from Israel due to Israel war crimes or in order to avoid future controversy.
  • The situation was actually very different; Harvard Management Company only invests in developing countries, and was divesting only because Israel became a ‘developed’ country upon its 2010 entry into the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
  • Harvard still has millions invested in Israeli companies through its endowment fund that invests in developed countries. BDS leaders and anti-Israel media sources have yet to retract their stories despite Harvard’s statement that divestment had nothing to do with politics.

Divestment fails at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego

University of Johannesburg: A phony claim of victory

  • Anti-Apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu (along with 200 other prominent South African academics) endorsed a proposal to end its relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU). At a faculty senate meeting, University of Johannesburg(UJ)  professors rejected calls for divestment and instead, requested BGU accept a compromise
  • The compromise: For collaboration to begin between Palestinian Universities and BGU within the next six months in order to maintain ties with UJ
  • UJ and BGU currently  have a variety of joint research projects and academic exchanges
  • Two of Tutu’s many outlandish claims are that Israeli universities are leaders in maintaining the occupation and that Palestinians are not able to access Israeli schools.
  • Nelson Mandela’s involvement in the relationship between the two centers of learning is one of the reasons why the recent attempt to break their ties failed.

Princeton Humus Referendum Fails

  • The Sabra hummus referendum that garnered international media attention was defeated, according to USG election results announced Friday, December 3, 2010.
  • A total of 1,014 students voted against the referendum, while 699 students voted in favor.
  • The Princeton Committee on Palestine was pushing for the removal of Sabra Humus, partially owned by the Strauss Group, from University stores. They site the Strauss Group’s supply of care packages to the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Force and their alleged human rights violations.
  • Turning humus into a political ploy: According to Princeton’s “Tigers for Israel” group, “The fringe, anti-Israel elements of the campus community and their allies in the national BDS movement have utterly failed in their attempt to trick Princeton students into starting down the path of delegitimizing the Jewish state.” they said. According to TFI, BDS campaigns neglect “the complexity and nuances of the situation in the Middle East.”

Indiana University Student Association (IUSA) passes resolution to reaffirm American-Israeli relations at IU

  • On February 8, 2011 the IUSA voted to pass a resolution which “recognizes Israel’s right to exist and defend itself,” as well as “supports the peace process concerning Israel and its neighbors.”
  • The author and sponsor of the bill began working on the resolution upon hearing of the Global BDS movement
  • According to the resolution, Israel, as the only stable democracy in the Middle East, promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and freedom. The resolution also emphasizes Israel’s strong relationship with both the University and the state of Indiana and is part of a special, mutually beneficial relationship with the United States.
  • IU organizations such as the Jewish Student Center, Hoosiers for Israel and College Democrats and Republicans were co-sponsors of the resolution, along with IUSA Student Body President Michael Coleman and Student Body Vice President Peter SerVaas.

University of Minnesota Passes Pro-Israel Resolution

  • On February 18th, 2014 the Minnesota Student Association passed a resolution with intention to expand “study abroad opportunities in the Middle East, specifically Israel, with a concentration in business, science, engineering, and agriculture.”
  • The resolution declared that study abroad in Israel would happen because it is “one of the most stable countries in the Middle East, with the highest ratings in human rights and democracy in the region,” and that “Israel is a global leader in agricultural development and sustainability practices.”

Since 2001, not a single college or university has divested from Israel or any company doing business with Israel!