A pro-Palestinian campus group at Cornell University is apparently trying to push through a resolution urging the school to cut ties with Israel, slipping it onto the books on the eve of the Passover holiday.
William Jacobson, a Cornell law professor who closely follows anti-Israel activity on American campuses and runs the website Legal Insurrection, made a discovery about his own school Tuesday.
He learned that Cornell’s Students for Justice in Palestine has initiated a last-minute resolution that if passed would pressure the Ivy League institution to divest from companies that do business in Israel, a move Jacobson called “sneak,” because the hearing was quickly scheduled just before the Jewish holiday when many Jewish students travel out of town to celebrate with their families.
Jacobson likened the move to the surprise attack against Israel by Arab armies that sparked the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Yom Kippur War.
According to documents Jacobson found on the Cornell Assembly website, the hearing on the divestment resolution was scheduled with less than 48 hours’ notice for Thursday afternoon. Because Passover begins Monday night, Jewish students may already have made travel plans to include spending the weekend back home, catching them out of town during the divestment meeting.
Legal Insurrection pointed out that if the resolution is not tabled Thursday, it will head straight for a formal vote the following Thursday, which is smack in the middle of the week-long Passover holiday.
“I do think it reflects both the desperation and true nature of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that it would seek to take advantage of a major Jewish holiday to try to pass an anti-Israel divestment resolution,” Jacobson told TheBlaze in an email.
The hearing was called at the last minute despite its having “been in the works for weeks,” Jacobson wrote, citing an email dated March 28 from the Cornell Muslim Educational and Cultural Association alerting members to the upcoming resolution.
“By so scheduling the Resolution, SJP and its supporters in the Student Assembly have sought to put Jewish students and campus groups at a disadvantage, literally forcing them to choose between celebrating the Jewish People’s Exodus from slavery in Egypt or organizing to fight the Divestment Resolution,” Jacobson wrote on his blog. “The intention to bring the Resolution to the Student Assembly was not made in regular order, was concealed from Jewish and pro-Israel groups on campus even though it has been in the works for weeks,” he added.
The law professor said there was other evidence that the hearing was being hidden from pro-Israel students. He pointed to the Cornell Divestment Event Facebook Page, created on March 29 while students were away for spring break, and which did not state the resolution was being brought to the Student Assembly.
“The members of the Student Assembly who were likely to oppose the Resolution were kept in the dark. Pro-Israel groups on campus were unaware,” Jacobson said, adding that even the original agenda for Thursday’s meeting that was sent out earlier on Tuesday did not list the divestment resolution as being an item up for discussion.
Only at 8:42 p.m. Tuesday was a revised agenda issued, which listed the divestment resolution.
If passed, the resolution will encourage Cornell to divest financial holdings from any companies that do business in the West Bank or provide equipment to the Israel Defense Forces.
The resolution contains no mention of the Palestinian terror attacks that have gripped Israel and prompted the country to take measures to protect its citizens, such as erecting a barrier to block entrance of Palestinian suicide bombers into Israel. It also does not call on the university to divest from companies that do business with Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, which have launched thousands of rockets at Israeli towns. Instead, the proposed measure states that the university must cease investing in any company whose equipment has been used to build or maintain what Israel calls its security barrier and the resolution refers to as “the illegal separation wall.”
“It is my understanding that no vote can take place this Thursday assuming the rules are followed. But that assumes the rules are followed, and SJP’s supporters apparently will use whatever mechanisms they can to push this to a quick vote, so the possibility cannot be ruled out that something substantive may happen on April 10,” Jacobson wrote.
Despite their call for the university to divest from companies doing business with Israel, it’s worth noting that Cornell’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter used the Israeli web platform Wix to create its website.
See the full report at Legal Insurrection.