The student government at Western Washington University became the first university student government in America to pass a resolution against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, according to JNS.org. The seven-member board of directors unanimously voted that it would not consider BDS resolutions based on national origin.
The resolution stated that in order to maintain a safe campus environment, “tensions between students related to foreign conflicts should be managed in a healthy and collaborative manner rather than be exacerbated.” The BDS measures, it continued, ”can cause students to be targeted on the basis of nationality.”
The BDS campaign has grown on college campuses in recent years, lobbying student governments to boycott Israel because of the country’s alleged human-rights violations.
WWU student Alsa Kipersztok brought the resolution to the student government. She explained her reasoning behind the resolution in a statement released by StandWithUs, a pro-Israel nonprofit organization. “I’ve seen how divisive anti-Israel BDS campaigns have been on campuses across the country,” Kiperstozk, who is a StandWithUS fellow, said. “BDS has been a source of disconnect and resentment among students, creating a hostile environment. It divides students, marginalizing those who support Israel.”
Rob Jacobs, Northwest Regional Director of StandWithUs, applauded the resolution. “We salute the ASWWU [Associated Students WWU] for taking a strong, moral, and proactive stance against the targeting of students based on their identity,” he said. “We’ve seen how anti-Israel divestment initiatives spread hatred and misinformation about Israel. BDS undermines education, mutual respect, and understanding on campuses, and does nothing to promote peace, justice, or human rights in the Middle East.”