Letter to Students

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dear Students,

As you may have read in the Michigan Daily, a resolution to divest from Israel (connected with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions – BDS – movement) was brought to Central Student Government (CSG). Leaders from Hillel the and Israel cohort spoke against the resolution at CSG. They presented diverse viewpoints including:

  • BDS has no place in our student government.
  • BDS is not an effective means to achieve a resolution to this conflict.
  • BDS is polarizing for our campus community.
  • BDS is a one-sided tactic that presents one narrative while excluding other narratives.
  • Language in this resolution, recent Daily articles and mock eviction notices have been dividing the campus and shutting down dialogue.

These arguments were all connected by the desire to bring peace through a two-state solution and positive change to the Middle East and to campus.

In addition, statements from National College Democrats and National College Republicans, and a letter from the UCLA student government (which just defeated a similar resolution) were presented. These statements encouraged CSG to NOT support this divestment resolution.

Last week, the resolution was presented, questioned, and discussed. This week, before going through that process again, CSG representatives voted to postpone the resolution indefinitely, effectively shutting down the BDS resolution. We are proud of CSG for recognizing that this resolution had no place in this forum.

Tensions were high after the CSG meeting. While we believe that CSG made the right decision, we know there are members of our campus community who left the meeting feeling upset and unheard. The next few weeks, you may encounter students who are frustrated or angry about the CSG resolution or others who may just have questions. We encourage you to respect the diversity of viewpoints on campus, while also presenting your own feelings in a respectful way. We know that this can be a challenging time on campus and it may feel intimidating to share your support for Israel. Now, more than ever, it is important to share why Israel is important to you.

We welcome you to join with our Israel leadership in a conversation about what has been happening on campus. We invite you to learn about new ways to get involved in the Israel community here at Michigan. Join us Friday at 4 PM at Hillel for this important discussion, where your voice will be valued and your presence appreciated.

Sincerely,

Becca Levin, Israel Cohort Chair, Hillel Programming Board

Michele Freed, Governing Board Chair, Hillel

Tilly Shames, Executive Director, Hillel

PS. Please contact Becca Levin, Israel Cohort Chair, to be connected to one of our many Israel groups on campus.

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