This past Tuesday, I was in attendance throughout the majority of the Central Student Government meeting discussing the divestment resolution. I feel that both parties present had compelling arguments for and against divestment — but that is the crux of the issue. This is very much a two-sided problem. The problem is being made by both sides to sound like a one-sided problem that lies entirely with the other. This is blatantly incorrect.
Those who are pro-divestment tell stories of the alleged human rights violations taking place within the West Bank, and I wholeheartedly connect with them. What they fail to mention is the history of human rights violations on the side of the militant groups residing in both the West Bank as well as in Gaza. People seem to forget that up until a few years ago, suicide bombings and bus bombings occurred almost weekly. Even now, rockets are still being launched into Israel proper from Gaza.
To make this an issue of blame that falls only on one side is to spit on the graves of all those who have died on both sides. It is a slap in the face to everyone who has lost loved ones, been kicked out of their house, or experienced any of the many other hardships brought on by this never-ending conflict.
I will be honest with you. I am conflicted on whether or not I believe it is CSG’s place to take a stance on the conflict at all, and I was happy to see the vote get postponed indefinitely last meeting. If CSG is to take a stance on this issue, BDS is not the right way to do it. If legislation were presented with a fair, two-sided response to this conflict, then and only then would I even consider the notion of whether CSG should be getting involved in this. As for right now, that is not the case.
This is only how I feel about the legislation in itself. There are so many other issues at hand here. I am an Orthodox Jew, and I wear a kippah/yarmulke 99 percent of the time. Lately, I have been getting what I can only describe as “hate stares.” I am being judged, not for what I believe or for who I am, but simply because of the religion I am a part of. Somehow, despite this blatant stereotyping, I am still being called a racist simply because I belong to an institution that disagrees with them. At the meeting last Tuesday night, I did not choose to sit with the block of anti-divestment people because I did not think I needed to join in with a group to support what I believe in. I sat surrounded by people standing up and passionately chanting, and by the end I honestly did not feel safe.
This is what this legislation is doing to the student body. I keep hearing that it does not matter if this legislation is divisive. All that matters is that it is right. Well, I know firsthand that this is not the case. People are being demonized simply for having an opposing opinion or even looking like many of those who hold that opinion. This is the legacy of the BDS movement. This is yet another reason why CSG needs to not bring this topic back to the table.
One of the basic tenets of a good university education is the ability to engage in dialogue. To hear others who are not like yourself even thought you may not agree with them. This is not a black and white issue. This issue needs discussion. This issue needs give and take. Dialogue groups have already canceled events due to this. How can the ending of dialogue be the solution to a problem as complex as this?
This needs to end.
David Snider is an Engineering sophomore.