On Tuesday February 25th, in the UCLA Ackerman Grand Ballroom, CAMERA supported CCAP group Bruins for Israel fought against a Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) resolution against Israel brought by Students for Justice in Palestine.
From 7 PM until 6 AM the next day, students for and against the bill gave two minute speeches and debated on the resolution. In a vote of 7 to 5, the BDS resolution failed to pass.
Bruins for Israel, the pro-Israel group on campus, live tweeted the event with the hashtag “#Bruinsforpeace.” Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA also followed the event, using the hashtag “#UCLA Divest.”
The UCLA student council listened to representatives from all sides of the debate speak on the BDS bill. Dina, a Students for Justice in Palestine alumna, spoke in favor of BDS, claiming that “a resolution that does not attack any individual people or ethnicity, [seemingly forgetting that BDS is attacking the Jewish ethnicity and the individuals working in Israeli companies.
She cited solidarity with other student groups, such as the African Students Union, Pakistani students and Jewish students. Other Palestinian activists used spoken word poetry to get their emotional points across.
Words were passed on with sentences like “this is not about being pro Israeli but on human rights.” The Students for Justice in Palestine representatives fought against their tuition going toward what they considered an injustice.
Bruins for Israel fought hard, bringing together the Pro-Israel community to come out against the bill.
“I am a Bruin for Israel, and I support Peace” was repeated after their statements. Angelina, a Bruin for Israel, said that “Nonviolence and Peace are not synonymous.”
Ben Shapiro, an alumnus of UCLA, came to refute the bill.
“To pretend this is about occupation, to pretend this is about peace, to pretend this is about anything but vile and despicable Jew hatred is a lie.” He said to the student council and students.
Bruins for Israel stressed harassment they had experienced on campus for being pro Israel. “I have been called anti human rights because I want my people to have a home. Do not tell me I am a bigot because I want a homeland for my people,” said one BFI supporter.
Emanuel Hodara, a Jewish girl fighting against BDS, spoke about her past in France, saying she fled Europe when the anti-Zionism in her country showed its face as antisemitism.
Although Bruins for Israel won their battle, BDS is not leaving anytime soon. Activists on campus need to prepare for debates that may last until the next day, a stronger activist base for BDS, and a fight that will need to be fought over and over again.
By CAMERA Intern Lindsey Rivka Liron Cohen.
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