An astounding 64 percent of students at Barnard College in New York City, New York – with one-third of its student body being Jewish – voted “yes” on a pro-Palestinian referendum calling the Trump administration to embrace the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
By a landslide vote of 2 to 1, students at the all-women’s school affiliated with Columbia University have cast their support for the anti-Semitic nationwide movement that targets companies with ties to Israel, including the Christian-owned Caterpillar, Boeing, Hyundai and Hewlett Packard.
Extreme bias against Israel and its supporters
The two-page referendum was presented to students over the past week to vote “yes” or “no” on whether or not to urge President Donald Trump to adopt the anti-Israel BDS campaign’s agenda that zeros in on eight American companies supporting Israel.
After explaining each of the pro-Israel businesses’ ties to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), it asks students whether the college – as a whole – should divest its stocks, funds and endowment of the companies.
Activists supporting the Palestinians – whose government is led by Islamic terrorist group Hamas – claim that some of the equipment produced by the companies assists Israel as it “oppresses” the militant Arab populations occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“Companies like Caterpillar, which make heavy machinery that here is used for general construction,” Caroline Oliver of Students for Justice in Palestine contended, according to New York’s CBS2 (WCBS). “In Palestine and the West Bank, they’re used for extrajudicial home demolitions.”
Barnard student Rachel Meyer insisted that the anti-Semitic petition was presented in an objective light.
“The way the referendum was presented on the SGA vote was basically saying, ‘Here’s these companies that are doing horrible human rights violations,’ and not giving any nuanced opinions, whatsoever,” Meyer told the local New York TV station.
The largest shocker in Barnard officially joining the anti-Semitic BDS movement is that nearly two-thirds of the student body voted for the measure – on a campus where one-third of its population is made up of Jewish American students.
“Sixty-four percent voted to divest, 36 percent voted against it,” WCBS reported. “About half of the 2,500 student body participated.”
Standing with Israel
Northeastern University Political Science professor Dov Waxman believes the student-run BDS campaign is nothing more than anti-Israel propaganda to promote the Palestinians’ quest to retake Israel.
“What it does do in the public sphere is delegitimize Israel, give Israel a bad reputation, and make it increasingly uncomfortable for pro-Israel supporters – including Jewish students on campus – to publicly identify with Israel,” Waxman asserted, according to the New York station.
A similar concern was voiced by New York Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Director Even Bernstein, who is alarmed that BDS activists are now indoctrinating high school students and their parents in their anti-Semitic teaching before they actually step foot on campus.
“We feel at the macro-level that BDS is something that inherently is written with anti-Semitism,” Bernstein warned local television viewers.
Graduates of Barnard are not happy with the anti-Semitic infiltration on campus.
“More than 2,000 alumni of Barnard College, including members of the Board of Trustees, have signed a petition urging the school administration to reject the results of a student referendum, calling on them to divest from eight companies that do business in Israel,” Forward.com reported.
The petition sets out to expose the pro-Palestinian, anti-Semitic agenda being promoted on campus to impressionable students.
“By presenting a nuanced and complex issue as one-sided and simple, it has biased the student body and failed in its duty to act as a neutral arbiter,” the petition reads. “BDS is a hateful movement that pushes peace further away and stifles discussion through a misleading and one-sided portrayal of the conflict in the Middle East.”
It was emphasized that the BDS petition goes against the very teachings at the core of Barnard’s academic program.
“At Barnard, we received an education that prioritizes intellectual honesty, social justice and an impassioned search for truth,” the petition continues. “But this referendum – and the manner in which it was brought to a vote – reflects none of these ideals and instead silences and marginalizes a community on our campus by refusing to accept the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.”
Handling the situation
Refusing to address the matter of the school’s endorsement of the BDS movement on camera, Banard College officials instead issued the New York TV station a statement.
“We are aware of the Student Government Association’s (GSA) referendum on divestment, but we have not received a formal request,” the school officials declared to CBS2. “As with any student referendum – which is a valuable expression of opinion – the outcome does not compel the College to take a specific action.”
This is in direct contrast to how the head of the campus views the situation.
“But the school’s president, Sian Leah Beilock, most definitely put her foot down in a message to the SGA,” TheBlaze reported.
She stressed to the student government that it must have its agenda in line with Barnard’s mission before submitting it for approval.
“For any referendum related to Barnard’s endowment to be considered by the Board of Trustees, it should meet two exacting standards,” Beilock’s stern message to the SGA declares. “The issue under discussion must relate directly to Barnard’s mission, and there must be a clear consensus across the Barnard community that the recommended approach is the best means to address the issue at hand.”
She went on to note that the BDS movement fails to meet with school standards in a number of ways.
“The referendum you are currently considering does not meet these two standards,” Beilock impressed. “First, taking an institutional stand amid the complexities of the Mideast conflict would risk chilling campus discourse on a set of issues that members of our community should be able to discuss and debate freely. Choosing a side therefore would be inconsistent with our mission. Second, there is clearly not consensus across the Barnard community on whether or how to address the issue. While a majority of students who voted support the referendum, this is less than 30 percent of Barnard’s student body. Thousands of alumnae have also voiced their opposition to the referendum. For these reasons, Barnard will not take action in response to this referendum.”
On Monday, the Barnard Student Government will vote on whether or not they will issue the Trump administration a letter petitioning it to divest in the eight companies over their involvement and support for Israel.
The liberal campus politics at Barnard spans a variety of controversial issues.
“Last year, Barnard College became the first college in the country to divest from companies that deny climate change,” WCBS recounted on its website.