Gabriella Hoffman is the chair of the UC – San Diego chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. She reported through a live blog for the conservative publication “California Review” during a recent student government meeting on her campus related to a radical measure to divest from Israel’s military, which has been sweeping through the UC System.
After hearing about the incidences of attacks to Jewish students at UC Berkeley with etchings of swastikas and later, various bills that underminded Israel going before the student government, I never thought that my university, UC-San Diego, would have to toil with a divestment bill.
As a Jewish student and conservative activist, I felt inclined to jump on board to help my friends and cohorts in Tritons for Israel-the pro-Israel group at UCSD-combat this tyrannical, ineffectual, and nuanced bill. To even consider this bill, which indirectly calls Israel an occupier and an entity that violates human rights, is outrageous!
When time came for the ASUCSD meeting on April 28th, 2010, I wanted to do my service to the pro-Israel community by blogging during the meeting everything from public input and from the special presentations made to those on council and those in attendance. I did not feel the desire to speak because frankly, I would have spewed more information and would spare no mercy to the Students for Justine in Palestine group for offending me and other Jewish students afflicted by this horrendous piece of legislation. It was better that I blogged and left this avenue to my cohorts to deal with. So, then came time to jot down everything that was said or retorted to the best of my ability…
As I divulged this awful measure with fellow TFIers, we came across talking points that epitomized this bill. One, AS has no business in dealing with matters that directly coalesce with international affairs. Two, the bill indirectly implies that Israel is an occupier (in respect to Gaza). Three, the bill was not neutral and was targeted for one group’s agenda (the SJP). And four, this bill will alienate the pro-Israel community found here at UCSD.
When recording during public input, certain things were revealed that were conducive to my beliefs and those of TFIers or pro-Israel peers, while other comments and speeches were downright appalling and best representative of that held by the SJP. In this issue, it is hard to be objective. It is between right and wrong (as most cases should be), and to be wrong entails classifying Israel as a violator of human rights. To denounce Israel is simply un-American!
So onto public input and the comments from there.
BSU President David Richardson – He is saying this is a political move. They aren’t picking sides and mocked Adam Teitelbaum talking about claiming we feel alienated.
Janelle Babbitt, BSU member: “AS has no power to invest, so it’s essentially a political vote. This is greater than what AS is a part of. …Fragmented three groups I’m in on campus. Voting in a political stance. Don’t be swayed by emotional appeal. Students are first but this not a student issue.”
Dafna Barzilay, President of TFI: “My job is to support and protect my community but I’m fearful for community of pro-Israel students. This is extremely unfair. Although it never directly mentions Israel it makes offesnses against Israel by taking sources form UN and anti-Israel orgs. It has anti-Israel bias. Peace incorporates talks and negotiations, not to be done overnight, and will take years to do. Reconsider it, but not as a source to peace, Help me foster a cohesive community.”
Israel Grad School at UCSD: “IDF is army of the people where everybody participates. Fights to minimize pain and casualties. Some things are bigger than us. Israeli/Jewish people have no other country but Israel. Jews can live free there, although minority in US but Jews can’t maintain identity except in Israel. In Gaza they elected Hamas, which is a terrorist organization that deprives its own people of human rights.”
Ben Bathlezar, Jewish Voices for Peace: “Is this good for the Jews? Resolution is good for the Jews. Goldstone is someone who needs to be listened to. I urge you to pass this resolution.”
Noam Cadouri, On-Campus Outreach of TFI: “I’m appalled on two things. Conflict is competition of whose awfulness is worse to judge that occupation of Gaza/West bank is treacherous. I acknowledge problems of everyone. To divest from all war worldwide. This is not neutral, if it were really neutral it would bring both sides, not competition. This bill alienates us.”
Brian Pyle, UCSD Student: “Measure to talk about US corporations to not accept status quo anymore. Never had bomb go off near me, why do we want student fees to build more bombs.”
Matt Zillber, Student Policy Director: “Not one penny goes to UC investment fund. You’re lying if you think your money goes to it. GE capital created to lose money to get tax benefits and put out Twilight. Readers’ Digest not responsible for weaponry. Issue blown way out of proportion.”
(This is a fact that SJP fails to grasp, believing that Israel is a human rights violater and evil Zionist nation).
Adam Teitlebaum, TFI Member: “My reputation proceeds me. I’m confused. AS meeting about peace and neutrality profiting from occupation as recommendation to UC Regents to divest from conflict in Jerusalem and Gaza. Two different resolutions. Not discussion about resolution but a debate about Middle East policy. This resolution talks about an issue that is emotionally driven. Fight broke out with a senator last night, regarding event: Apartheid Week. There they’re calling me a Zionist and Nazi with their wall.”
Gaby Abhoot, TFI: “Elevated levels of hate at Berkeley. Swastikas and physical assault. My parents value education and considered moving me from this campus. UC community at whole will be jeopardized.”
Max Hopper, Senior at Muir: “Lack of talking about resolution. ASUCSD widely recognizes inability of a body to adjudicate matters. Deny resolution on these grounds. Two suggestions this resolution is making: that Israel is causing violation of law, or adjudicating action on international law resolution cannot be passed.”
Daniel Desta, TFI Advisor: “I’m here because I’m proud Israeli. Fled Ethiopia and Israel provided home for me. In Israel, everyone is equal. When I lived in Jerusalem, I had to take two buses to get to school to avoid suicide bombers. Would you let them play roulette with my life. But our voice not heard here, bomber killed 26 people in a night club. What are we divesting from?”
Sixth College Senator Leena: “Israel apartheid of our time. Unpopular because against status quo. Support Justice. Institutionalized bias is a vote for no.”
Gabi Tripolsky, Off-Campus Outreach Officer of TFI: “Why do I oppose this bill? Israel is a country where politically and culturally different views are accepted and appreciated.I can associate with community where voice and opinion can fly and be with people who may be Republican or Democrat, gay or straight, european or persian. In Israel, we’re all together, and Israel believes in equality and social justice, because look at Israel, gay marriage is legal, Women’s rights are protected. Thse do not exist anywhere else in Middle East. I’m proud to represent Israel community. Bill singles out Israel and Jewish community. I don’t want my voice suppressed, If passed, repercussions will be something my peers and I will have to face. I don’t want to face Berkeley here. Make my future cohesive.”
As you can see, it was an interesting forum during the AS meeting. Fortunately, this bill was not passed but moved to a committee with 3 TFI offiers, 3 SJP officers, and two mediating AS members to vie for a bill ensuring REAL neutrality. Then again, the Israel-Palestinian conflict will always be embroiled and one where it will be impossible to reach a compromise. Rest assured, I hope this never comes about again at my university, but I have a feeling I will have to brace this problem again.
You will be hearing a lot from UCSD in the next couple of weeks with the heavy bout of liberalism and anti-Israeli sentiments surface. I will keep you posted with David Horowitz (who we’re bringing), Van Jones, Norman Finkelstein, Angela Davis, and Israel “Apartheid” Week come Week 7 here at UCSD (May 10th through 13th). Oy ve! Nevertheless, I will fight for the Conservative Movement through thick and thin.