Cornell nixes bid to place divestment vote during Passover

Cornell nixes bid to place divestment vote during Passover

Pro-Palestinian student group fails in attempt to push through motion while Jewish students away for holiday

Cornell University (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/CC SA 2.0)
Cornell University (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/CC SA 2.0)

An apparent effort by pro-Palestinian campaigners at Cornell University to push through an anti-Israel resolution by scheduling the vote during Passover failed Thursday night, as the school’s student assembly voted to table the motion indefinitely, killing any chance it would come up for a vote next week.

Backers of the resolution, which would call on Cornell to divest from firms that do business for Israel in the West Bank, placed the motion on the agenda a day before the Thursday meeting, apparently in the hopes it would get a vote when the assembly convenes next week, when many pro-Israel students will be away for Passover.

At a meeting packed with students on both sides of the debate, the assembly tabled the motion by a vote of 15-8 with one abstention, forcing it off the agenda for the next week’s meeting.

After the vote, a large group of Israel supporters cheered as a pro-Palestinian student attempted to shout them down.

Hillel International President Eric Fingerhut congratulated pro-Israel voices on the Cornell campus on the defeat of the measure.

“The BDS [Boycott, Divest, Sanction] movement is an attack on Jewish values and the Jewish people, and rejects any hope for peace between Israel and her neighbors. These hateful efforts must always be confronted and defeated,” he said in a statement.

William A. Jacobson, a Cornell law professor and founder of the popular political blog Legal Insurrection, first reported on Wednesday that the resolution had been added to the updated agenda for a student assembly meeting scheduled for the next day, in what he called an attempt to catch pro-Israel student groups unprepared.

The Passover holiday begins next Monday night and many Jewish students were planning to leave the Cornell campus on Thursday and head back home to celebrate the festival with their families.

The divestment resolution lists various companies as examples of those that should be boycotted, including SodaStream, which has a production line in Ma’aleh Adumim, and US defense contractor Raytheon, which supplies the IDF with equipment.

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