September 24, 2020 — Chicago, IL
AJC Chicago is dismayed by the passage of a divestment resolution by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Government (ISG) last night. As we have said time and again, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is offensive to many Jewish students, and is counter-productive in any attempt to navigate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which can only be solved through negotiations between the two sides. Additionally, if the University of Illinois truly stands to be an inclusive place for all students, its student leaders must recognize that this resolution marginalizes Jewish and pro-Israel students.
We thank the Illinois Division of Student Affairs and Chancellor Robert Jones, an AJC Project Interchange alumnus, for their collective statement, and for stating clearly that yesterday’s resolution, in addition to forcing “students who oppose efforts to divest from Israel to also vote against support for the Black Lives Matter movement,” directly violates the University’s fundamental value of inclusion.
Instead of passing divisive resolutions, the ISG should focus on exploring ways to bring students together for dialogue and understanding differences. “This is not the first time in the last year that the Illinois Student Government has taken unilateral action that divides the campus and harms the Jewish community,” said Laurence Bolotin, Evelyn R. Greene AJC Chicago Executive Director. Bolotin added, “we hope this troubling trend comes to an end and that Jewish students will continue to feel like they have a home at the University of Illinois.”