TCU Senate met in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room on April 9. (Vintus Okonkwo / The Tufts Daily)

TCU Senate passes resolution urging divestment from companies involved in occupied Palestinian Territories

Members of Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate passed a resolution calling for Tufts to divest from four companies that it says are involved in the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The resolution, which drew an audience of more than 100 students, passed with 17 in favor, six opposed and eight abstentions.

Several audience members held pieces of paper with a crossed-out image of a table, which urged Senate to vote on the resolution rather than tabling it, while others held signs reading “I support Palestinian Human Rights,” “Stand with Israel” and “Divest from these companies profiting off of the occupation.”

TCU Parliamentarian Adam Rapfogel introduced the resolution and reviewed the resolution process for students in attendance. Then TCU Historian Rati Srinivasan read the text of the resolution. Following non-substantive changes related to the grammar and spelling of the resolution, the meeting entered the discussion phase.

Several authors spoke to provide background for the text of the resolution, which calls for Tufts not to invest in Elbit Systems, G4S, Northrop Grumman and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and to screen its investments for human rights compliance. According to the resolution, it is unclear whether Tufts currently invests in those four companies.

The authors stressed that the goal of the resolution is to make a statement that Tufts should not profit from human rights abuses. Others argued that the resolution’s political statement is beyond the scope of TCU Senate.

The meeting then entered a question-and-answer period, during which students in the audience were allowed to direct questions to the authors of the resolution.

Some students raised concerns that attendance at the meeting could be impacted by the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover. To address this, comments were collected online from students and Rapfogel, a sophomore, read a selection.

A motion was raised to move to debate and it passed. After ten minutes, a motion to table the resolution was raised but was denied 13-4. Following another 30 minutes of debate, another motion to table was raised and the rules were suspended to debate the motion to table, after which the motion failed.

Five amendments were proposed to the resolution. The first was deemed friendly and integrated into the resolution, and the other four were deemed unfriendly and not included.

Finally, a vote was held and the resolution passed with 17 in favor, six against and eight abstentions.

25 Responses

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  1. Anonymous
    Apr 10, 2017 - 07:16 AM

    This article minimizes the opposition just like the resolution. It fails to emphasize the fact that the meeting occurred the night before Passover started and, in fact, the vote did not occur until after midnight. Not only did those opposed to the resolution debate it for over three and a half hours, this means the vote actually occured ON the day that Passover begins, adding further insult to injury. This article also fails to mention the dozens, if not hundreds, of emails TCU senators received, mostly urging them to table, nor the fact that over 81 online responses were received.

    Furthermore, this article does not mention the despicable way in which this meeting was conducted. There were no photos or video allowed, and people were not even allowed to call each other by name due to “safety concerns”. This applied to the senators as well. Both their comments and their votes were kept anonymous.

    The TCU Senate does not have any accountability for their despicable actions. This resolution, and the TCU Senate as a whole, do not represent my beliefs and interests, nor do they represent those of much of the Tufts student body after last night. I call on President Monaco, the Board of Trustees, and whomever else it may concern to disregard this and all future resolutions put forward by the TCU Senate as they no longer have any legitimacy as a student representative body.

    • Ander Pierce
      Apr 10, 2017 - 03:21 PM

      The vast majority of senate was present (31 out of 33 members) and there were numerous Jews present, many supported the resolution, many opposed it.

      Of course privacy was a concern. Canary Mission & Horowitz Institute have both documented and threatened students for speaking out against Zionism and apartheid. Even more important is that Israel has decided it is appropriate to revoke the right of return for Jews who politically support BDS.

      That is true antisemitism.

      P.S.
      It is extremely ironic that you whine about TCU keeping the vote anonymous, then post anonymously

      • ModernMaccabi
        Apr 10, 2017 - 03:52 PM

        Exposing facts about things that are happening on college campuses is not a threat, it is exposing what is going on. That’s just a part of how freedom of speech works. There is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas. In my opinion, that concept can only work if those who are being accused have the opportunity to identify and confront their accusers. Indeed, if there was a segment of the college population speaking and acting out against Muslims, Blacks, Latinos, LGBQ or any other marginalized group, then you would probably want to know who those people are so that you could confront them with their bias and bigotry.

      • CD-Host
        Apr 10, 2017 - 07:58 PM

        @anderpierce:disqus

        They haven’t revoked right of return for Jews who support BDS. They have revoked travel rights for tourists who support BDS. So in theory you can eligible to become a citizen in Israel but not a tourist. And how can that possibly be antisemitism?

  2. ModernMaccabi
    Apr 10, 2017 - 10:29 AM

    Who voted for the resolution and who voted against it? Why is this important information not being disclosed? What is the reason for this lack of transparency? The Tufts Daily should let students and others interested in this divisive issue know who voted for what position. That is what journalism is all about. Democracy cannot properly function in dark shadows and secrecy.

    • Deepanshu Utkarsh
      Apr 10, 2017 - 01:38 PM

      Unfortunately the Senate kept the vote anonymous so no one could find out who voted for what. 🙁

      • ModernMaccabi
        Apr 10, 2017 - 02:38 PM

        That information shouldn’t be too hard to determine. Perhaps the Tufts Daily should act like a real newspaper and have an enterprising young reporter start looking into it.

        • Deepanshu Utkarsh
          Apr 10, 2017 - 02:40 PM

          They literally did it in a manner that even they can’t figure out who voted for what.

          • ModernMaccabi
            Apr 10, 2017 - 09:07 PM

            Wow! Just wow. I’m dumbfounded by this complete lack of transparency on a vote that will hurt a minority group on campus.

  3. ImmuneToBS
    Apr 10, 2017 - 01:07 PM

    Disgusting act of ignorance and bigotry. You may count me among those alums who will not give a dime to Tufts as long as this nonsense stands.

    • Ander Pierce
      Apr 10, 2017 - 03:38 PM

      Good, Tufts doesn’t need your money, and donating to them would probably just fund HP and G4S anyway.

      • ImmuneToBS
        Apr 10, 2017 - 05:37 PM

        If Tufts didn’t need/want my money, they wouldn’t send me several requests for donations every year.

        BDS is a deal-breaker, though. It is, without question, an anti-Semitic movement designed to undermine and ultimately eliminate the Jewish State of Israel. The administration of the university needs to have the courage to distinguish between legitimate acts of activism and this type of blatant bigotry.

  4. Liberation
    Apr 10, 2017 - 01:35 PM

    It is events like these that give me hope for marginalized peoples and people of color across the world. People who are dying at the hands of the Israeli government, the U.S military, the Chinese govt., Hindu nationalists, Muslim extremists and so many other oppressive forces, one day will have justice. Oppressed minorities all over the world will one day be free. As Assata Shakur said, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
    Congratulations on this resolution! Kudos to these students who are not blinded by the dominance of Israeli and U.S propaganda.

    • ModernMaccabi
      Apr 10, 2017 - 02:39 PM

      Ummmmmmmmm, you seem to ignore the fact that Jews have been marginalized, oppressed, persecuted and flat out murdered for millennia. You need to get a clue about history bud.

      • Ander Pierce
        Apr 10, 2017 - 03:28 PM

        True, antisemitism is alive and well. Interstingly enough, the corporation G4S that makes its money off of oppressing Palestinians also makes money in Turkey oppressing Turkish Jews. Intersectionality is not just a buzz word, there are many corporations that will turn a buck however they, can, with no regard to ethics

        • ModernMaccabi
          Apr 10, 2017 - 03:56 PM

          What about all the many Muslim and Arab countries who have oppressed and ethnically cleansed themselves of Jews? How come you don’t want to talk about those countries or governments?

        • CD-Host
          Apr 10, 2017 - 08:04 PM

          @anderpierce:disqus

          There are slightly over 17k Jews in Turkey. G4S’ sales are $6.8b. No they aren’t making their money oppressing Turkish Jews nor Palestinians. They make most of their money in secure software sales, providing security against robbery for cash businesses…

      • Ander Pierce
        Apr 10, 2017 - 03:33 PM

        I have no shortage of evidence of Israeli oppression. If you want I can start with Israeli use of position torture and beating against children(1), move on to Israeli discrimination against Arabs as espoused by a mainstream politician in an almost absurd statement (no Arabs in these pools! 2), and finish up with the testimonies of ex-IDF soldiers on destruction of property (3).

        1) https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/
        ‘The UN Committee against Torture conducted its fifth periodic review of Israel, criticizing continued reports of torture and other ill-treatment, impunity, and the authorities’ failure to proscribe torture as a crime under the law. Israeli officials noted that legislation criminalizing torture was being drafted by the Ministry of Justice, but it was not put before the Knesset (parliament).’

        2) http://www.timesofisrael.com/lower-galilee-council-head-i-dont-want-arabs-in-our-pools/

        3)http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/ Israeli soldiers talk about the occupied territories

        • ModernMaccabi
          Apr 10, 2017 - 03:50 PM

          And of course there is ample evidence (albeit much less outrage) of Arab and Muslim oppression and violence, especially against Jews. In fact, that oppression and violence started long before the establishment of the state of Israel. So if you want to talk about this ongoing war then at least be honest about the wrongs committed by both sides. If you don’t, then you simply are incapable of having an honest discussion about this very complex issue.

      • Ander Pierce
        Apr 10, 2017 - 03:37 PM

        Yes, Jews have faced perverse discrimination and hatred, and continue to face it. No, unequivocal support for Zionism is not equivalent to unequivocal support of Jews, nor is questioning Zionism tantamount to antisemitism.

        For instance, Israeli politicians have decided that simply supporting BDS is reason enough to forbid anyone, even Jews, from entering Israel. This is antisemitic, because it harms many Jews and prevents them from seeking to create a home in Israel. It is also Zionist.

        Many Christians would like to see all Jews in the US deported to Israel. They are Zionist, AND they are antisemitic.

        • ModernMaccabi
          Apr 10, 2017 - 04:00 PM

          You do realize that Zionism (a largely secular movement to re-establish a Jewish homeland in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people) was in large part a response to the discrimination, hatred, persecution and unending violence that Jews faced for thousands of years around the world? Or perhaps you do not know or do not care.

        • anonymous
          Apr 10, 2017 - 08:16 PM

          Deportation is not remotely the same as Zionism, it is the polar opposite. Zionism is about the self-determination of the Jewish people. Forced migration is the opposite of this and is what led to the Zionist movement in the first place. Calling deportations Zionist is only one step short of calling concentration camps Zionist and if you think that it is Zionist, then YOU are anti-semetic my friend.

  5. jeff benson
    Apr 10, 2017 - 03:42 PM

    Right. So those Palestinians go from having lousy jobs to no jobs at all. Well done. College students again proving their vast ignorance and the ease with which they can be led around by the nose by some Marxist Profs.

  6. Monk
    Apr 10, 2017 - 08:30 PM

    “The lunatics are running the asylum” seems an apt description of this action. These children have no idea what falsehoods they have accepted and what bigotry they are promoting.

  7. Jubel
    Apr 11, 2017 - 11:27 AM

    The best and brightest thought that secretly passing an anti-Israel resolution on Passover eve was a smart idea. You’d almost think that United Airlines is doing their PR.

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