Tag Archive for BDS

The Yudof Doctrine: No divestment from Israel until genocide

“The U.S. has not made any declaration regarding the State of Israel and, therefore, we will not bring a recommendation before the Board to divest from companies doing business with the State of Israel.”

– UC President Mark Yudof, UC Regents Chairman Russell Gould, and UC Regents Vice Chair Sherry Lansing

UC President Mark Yudof — who the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has called “an unabashed Israel supporter” and who has previously compared the UC to a cemetery — has weighed in against UC Berkeley’s divestment initiative, laying out a bizarre formula for UC investments that sets the bar so low it would have prevented UC divestment from South Africa during the apartheid era.

Under the Yudof doctrine, the UC Regents would only divest from a foreign country if the United States government had decided that the country had engaged in acts of genocide. Apparently that is the only standard under which Israel can continue to escape scrutiny by the UC Regents. But the policy has implications beyond the Israeli occupation of Palestine, for under this rule the UC Regents would not be able to modify its investment policy in order to alleviate a host of other social harms, such as the occupation of Tibet, slave labor, human trafficking, any government practices that are racist, sexist, homophobic and otherwise dehumanizing. It clearly leaves much to be desired in the human rights arena.

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Solidarity is a weapon against Israeli propaganda

Perhaps the most important success of the divestment movement at Berkeley has been overlooked. Yes, it is true that a super majority of the student senate supported divestment from Israeli war crimes and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. It is true that the vote was reversed only after pro-Israel mobilization kicked in to remind people where the interests of power reside. It is true that it was thus clear to all, including the flip-flopping senators, what the “right” thing to do was. It was also clear that the right thing to do, would not be the easy thing to do.

Yet the greater success lies elsewhere. While many have hailed the diversity of the bill’s proponents, few have pointed out that these coalitions were built in spite of extensive and expensive campaigns by pro-Israel propagandists to conjure an image of Israel as the natural cause for people of color, queer communities, and other progressive-minded activists working on environmental issues. In and of itself this is a huge victory for Palestinians and their supporters, and a huge defeat for the Israeli propaganda machine.

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"Nothing so tires a person as having to struggle, not with himself, but with an abstraction." - Jose Saramago, All the Names