Guest Commentary: Tritons for Israel


President, Tritons for Israel

Does the resolution target Israel?

Proponents of the resolution claim the resolution does not target Israel, and consequently does not alienate Israeli or pro-Israel students on campus. When looking at the text of the resolution, however, Israel is the only country mentioned, and singled out for collective punishment. Even though both companies specified in the resolution, General Electric and Northrop Grumman, have military contracts with over a dozen other countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Japan and Taiwan, the only country mentioned is the State of Israel. The resolution could achieve the same goals without targeting Israel, but intentionally singles out the only democracy in the Middle East. If the resolution passes, global organizations such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctioning of Israel will claim this as a huge victory.

Will the resolution divide this campus and alienate students?

The resolution does not foster a more cohesive campus community, but rather further polarizes the already-marginalized set of pro-Israel groups on campus. These progressive, liberal, peace-seeking groups have been increasingly alienated over the past few years; this resolution forces the student government to take a stance on the issue, and will further alienate one of the two sides. When the State of Israel is singled out from a list of eligible sovereign states, students whose identities are linked to the country feel singled out and held to a double standard. Students should be able to attend a university and feel accepted and represented by their student government.

Does this resolution promote a progressive, liberal approach to the conflict?

The resolution requires every student involved in the different aspects of this issue to take a simplified stance, either for or against divestment. In essence, the resolution both ignores and silences the moderate voices advocating for a more nuanced approach to the issues. In this campaign there is no middle ground. The resolution polarizes an already divided group of students, and does not allow for the complex views inherent to the issue. It is a myopic approach to a very complicated issue that must be addressed on campus in a productive forum.  This resolution does not belong before an associated student government because A.S. Council is charged with providing for a more cohesive campus community, and this resolution divides our student population.

What are the possible effects of Divestment?

The resolution does not account for the numerous implications of punishing companies who have deep financial- and research-based connections to our university. Both General Electric and Northrop Grumman, the two companies targeted in the resolution, have research contracts with UCSD, and are a main source of potential jobs for our engineering students. Calling for divestment and blacklisting these companies will potentially harm our reputation with these companies.