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CUNY pro-BDS vote shelved after heated debate

(JNS.org) A last minute resolution to divest from Israel at the City University of New York (CUNY) was shelved Friday night following a strong presence by pro-Israel supporters despite the start of Shabbat. The Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) of CUNY, which represents more than 4,700 members of the graduate school from across the CUNY system, announced earlier in the week that the last minute divestment vote would take place Friday, Sept.12 at 6 p.m. Many pro-Israel students raised concerns that the vote’s scheduled start time was set to just before Shabbat, as well as the fact that no materials were handed out ahead of time to help students prepare. According to Dominique Nisperos, the DSC’s co-chair for communications, that was done out of “environmental concerns,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The proposed resolution calls on the CUNY system to endorse a “boycott of Israeli academic institutions and the divestment from Israeli companies,” and to end academic partnerships with Israeli institutions such as the one between Baruch College and Israel’s College of Management and Academic Studies. The resolution also expresses support for “Palestinian students and academics in their struggle against the Zionist policies of the Israeli state and its restrictions.”

After a lengthy heated debate on Friday evening, a motion was eventually passed to table the resolution for a future date. Despite the vote’s difficult timing for observant Jews, a number of pro-Israel groups did turn out to support CUNY students, as well as faculty members who opposed the resolution. “It is a routine tactic of the BDS movement to hold votes on or around Jewish holidays in order to shut out pro-Israel voices,” Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) – who attended the Friday evening vote – told JNS.org. “When the facts are known, BDS fails.”

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