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University of Illinois Student Gov. President Vetoes BDS, Says it Created ‘Climate of Hate’ on Campus

02-19-2020
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JERUSALEM, Israel – The president of the University of Illinois Student Government (ISG) on Sunday shot down a resolution supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) resolution, to the relief of many Jewish organizations on campus.

Last week, the student senate passed Resolution 03.61, which calls on the university to divest from three leading defense and security companies that supply weapons to Israel, China, Brazil, Chile, and Honduras. 

The legislation gave special attention to Israel and accuses the companies of being complicit in “violations of international law and war crimes.” 

Although the university said it had “no plans to act” on the resolution, ISG president Connor Josellis vetoed it during his cabinet meeting on Sunday, saying student remarks surrounding Israel “have made students feel unsafe and fostered a climate of hate on this campus.”

 “One of my primary obligations as student body president is to make sure that all students are able to participate in a campus environment where all feel safe to learn and be themselves,” Josellis said, according to The Daily Illini. “Approving a resolution that hundreds of students have said will do the opposite would not be doing my job.” 

Jewish and pro-Israel groups on campus issued a statement accusing BDS supporters of anti-Semitism, specifically when one pro-BDS student held up a sign comparing Israel to Nazis. 

During public comments, Nina Raab, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, confronted anti-Israel students about the sign. 

They called us Nazis!” Raab said. 

“They’re right!” one student in the audience responded.

The clip of the confrontation has nearly 10,00 views online.

“The divisive atmosphere bolstered by this resolution legitimized this hateful remark and exposed the malicious and despicable hatred towards Jewish students by the supporters of (Students for Justice in Palestine) SJP and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement,” Jewish and pro-Israel groups said in a statement.

SJP issued an apology on its Facebook page, saying “we reject the comment, as it antithetical to our values as SJP.” 

The group also condemned Josellis for vetoing BDS, saying “criticisms of Israel simply do not amount to an unsafe campus climate.” 

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