Berkeley BDS: Untangling the Final Vote

Well it took a little doing, but I was finally able to figure out the Byzantine nature of decision-making at UC Berkeley to determine that yesterday’s “tabling” of the final divestment vote was just a way to ensure that headlines the next day read “No Final Decision” vs. “Divestment Loses at Berkeley.” While this has worked with regard to how web sites and blogs sympathetic to BDS portray yesterday’s defeat, most news sources are calling it like it is: ASUC Fails to Override Divestment Bill Veto.

It was kind of a surreal experience following yesterday’s debate via a Twitter feed hosted by BDS supporters. It brought to mind those professional wrestling matches where a heel (or evil wrestler) is allowed to provide color commentary on a match between a fellow villain and a face (or good wrestler):

Ringcaller: What’s that? It looks like The Executioner has somehow snuck a live hand grenade into the ring. And he’s pulling the pin!

Heel Color Commentator: I don’t see any grenade, but look at how Virtuous Vinnie is cowardly fleeing the ring! I guess we can all agree that the Executioner is the only real man in this match!

Honestly (if I can use that word in the context of BDS), with the #UCBDIVEST Twitter feed hailing the courage of every divestment champion and sneering at every critic, I suspect everyone following the debate was shocked when the final vote was taken and their hopes of being able to fan out across the country claiming “Berkeley’s on board” came crashing to the ground. Perhaps that’s why they spent the last half hour before the vote screaming: YOU HAVE NO CHOICE! THIS IS A MORAL ISSUE! VOTE NOW!!!!!!!!, only to switch sentiments an hour later and hail the decision to avoid making the vote they demanded final.

Note to self: Learn to Tweet. Second Note to Self: Get someone from our side (or, even better, a neutral journalist) to live feed any similar event in the future.

Anyway, what appears to have happened is that divestment supporters used a procedural move to avoid a final vote while they worked on the one Senator who had abstained for two more hours. And once it was clear that no one was going to change his or her vote, they “tabled” the motion in order to avoid that being the final say on the matter. It doesn’t look like the same motion will be brought up again this semester (or possibly ever), although new resolutions that are not quite so ludicrously dishonest might make it onto the floor before the end of the year.

So, as ever, eternal vigilance is the watch-phrase of the day (and every day). This is OK for me since I take great pleasure in watching BDS get its ass handed to it week after week, month after month, year after year, but I know that other people (including, I expect, 95% of the population of Berkeley) would prefer it if those devoted to bashing the Jewish state in order to inflate their own sense of importance would do so on their own time and leave everyone else out of their personal psycho-dramas.

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One Response to Berkeley BDS: Untangling the Final Vote

  1. Alan Edelstein May 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    I was walking through the Old City today and several Arab shopkeepers asked me to purchase their goods. When I declined, two of them asked me why. I explained that since Palestinians and Israeli Arabs were boycotting Israeli Jewish businesses, I did not feel that I should be purchasing their goods. They hastened to tell me that they were only boycotting goods from Israeli “settlements.”

    I told them that their shops were on contested ground but Jews were still buying from them. Further, I told them that their statements were not true. All they had to do is go on almost any campus in the U.S. and Canada and see that the Arab world is promoting a boycott of and divestment from all of Israel. At that point I was told that I am a racist and that they did not want my “filthy” money. So much for respectful dialogue.

    I suggest all Jews refrain from buying from Palestinians and Israeli Arabs until the boycott of Israeli goods and the worldwide efforts to promote boycotts and divestment from Israel halt. You need not subject yourself to the verbal abuse I endured. They will get the message.

    Respect, recognition, and economic improvement are a two-way street.

    Alan Edelstein
    Jerusalem/Sacramento

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