I frequently find myself flabbergasted by the way the forces of BDS, while trying to seize the reputation of someone else for their own purposes, repeatedly shred their own reputation in the process.

And no divestment story I’ve ever encountered illustrates this phenomena better than this week’s hijacking of the University of California Student Association (UCSA).

If the BDSers were simply cynical, and not incompetent, the decision of the California legislature to pass a bill condemning their project (called HR 35) could have provided them political gold.  For all they had to do was to publically press for a counter-condemnation of grown-up interference in student affairs and they would very likely have gotten their way (or at least generated publicity that would place them squarely in the camp of “sticking it to the man,” a powerful place to reside in student politics).

Instead, they over-reached (as always) and, desperate to claim to speak on behalf of the entire student body of the UC system (despite that student body having rejected divestment time and time again), they ended up demonstrating how right the legislators behind HR 35 were all along.

What could have possibly possessed them to write not just a bill condemning HR 35, but one that effectively made UCSA a partner in the entire BDS project, putting the organization in opposition to all of the individual UC Student Councils that have voted down BDS, Councils the UCSA is supposed to be representing?

The decision to lard the UCSA resolution with pro-BDS propaganda and anti-Israel smears both identified the text as having originated from the keyboards of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and forced its proponents to work in secrecy so that they could try to eke out a “victory” before anyone knew what they were up to.  It never seemed to occur to them that their intentional decision to hide what they were doing and ram the whole thing through on the Shabbat right before the start of the High Holidays would not only become the story, but would demonstrate to all the boycotters’ understanding that they were destined to lose anything remotely resembling a fair fight.

Like night follows day, the BDSers justification of their atrocious behavior consists of an unrestrained attack against their critics, anchored with a peek into their fantasy world in which their loss at Berkeley in 2010 was the result of outside threats to ruin the lives and careers of BDS supporters.

Within this fantasy, there seems to be no room for what really happened during the 2010 vote (a vote which involved the boycotters – not their opponents – reducing student council members to tears through endless all-night browbeating).  And as for outside forces, I seem to recall it was the BDSers who called in the troops to surround the student union with black-shirted supporters, and BDS Central that was beaming messages around the world to bombard student council members with demands they vote to support divestment.

Fortunately, the public and media long ago realized that even on those rare occasions when student governments have not rejected BDS and have instead passed some sort of impotent divestment resolution (which was immediately ignored or condemned by administrations that actually get to make investment and divestment decisions), these stories are not even newsworthy (much less politically meaningful).

And speaking of newsworthiness, while everyone’s heard of Berkeley and Harvard and MIT (all schools that have shown BDS the door), the same cannot be said for UCSA, an organization whose first public exposure outside the narrow world of UC campus politics has introduced it as an organization ready to trash its own principles to allow a narrow group of single-issue partisans to get their way at the expense of the students UCSA is supposed to represent.

Perhaps this should be a lesson to all of us what can happen if perform work (especially dirty work) on the Sabbath.

One thought on “UCSA BDS OYVAY”

  1. this is from an e-mail sent out by some of the Jewish student leaders at UC Berkeley; it describes more of the sordid details of the “dead of night” approach that has become the only method by which BDS can accomplish anything:

    “As we gather together over the next few days and celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we write to share with you some upsetting news that directly impacts our community. Yesterday, the UC Student Association (UCSA), a system-wide student organization with representatives from each campus, passed a resolution condemning HR 35, a California State Assembly resolution, and urging the UC Board of Regents to divest from companies aiding Israel in alleged human rights violations. We, your current and former ASUC elected representatives, were not informed that such a resolution was being considered nor offered the opportunity to engage our community in the conversation. While we are not assuming malintent, the Jewish community was excluded from the debate surrounding the UCSA resolution calling for Israeli divestment, even though the organization is meant to represent the views of all UC students.
    > Even more than the issues with the bill’s content, we are deeply concerned by the lack of transparency on the part of UCSA and the ASUC External Affairs Vice President, our representative to the board, and the blatant disregard for community involvement that should be a cornerstone of such a democratic and representative body. Moreover, as systemwide student leaders, UCSA board members should be focused on building a healthier campus climate where every student feels safe, not advancing initiatives that lead to conflict and divisiveness.
    > We firmly believe that free speech must always be safeguarded. However, there was no publicized agenda for this meeting, and the leadership of our community was not given advance notice that the bill would be discussed. The meeting location was not disclosed on the UCSA website (the site only stated it was in Berkeley). We were not made aware until the vote had already occurred, barring our ability to engage our community. This is absolutely unacceptable, and we will not as a community allow our voices to be silenced again. We all know Israel is not perfect – no democracy is – and we may not all agree on every viewpoint, but one thing we can agree on is the right for every community to have its voice heard.”

    BDS advocates are afraid of a free and fair debate– even when they must defend themselves in open court, they will use intimidation as well as blatant lies to promote their agenda.

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