Jewish leaders have slammed the University of Maryland’s Student Government Association (SGA) for holding a vote on a pro-boycott resolution on April 24, in the middle of Passover.
The student body is expected to urge the school “to divest from companies engaged in human-rights violations in Palestine” and is supported by groups that advocate in favor of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
“The timing of this resolution is particularly insensitive given that many Jewish students will be away from campus this weekend for Passover, and will be celebrating the intermediary days of the holiday when the vote takes place,” said UMD Hillel staff member Elan Burman in an email to community members.
The SGA has defended its decision to hold the vote during Passover, citing the “robust scheduling system we have in place and our permanent weekly meeting time.”
SJP was founded as the Palestine Solidarity Movement on the UC Berkeley campus in 1993. SJP disguises itself as an organization promoting social justice and the Palestinian cause. In reality, the organization and its supporters spend almost all of their energy demonizing Israel in furtherance of the goal of destroying the Jewish State.
A spokesperson for the University of Maryland told the Jewish Journal in an April 19 email that the institution “regrets the student government’s scheduling of a vote on a BDS resolution during the Passover holiday.” He expressed concerns that the timing “limits the full participation by all students in voting on the measure—itself inconsistent with the free exchange of ideas.”
He also emphasized that both University of Maryland President Wallace Loh and Provost Mary Ann Rankin have denounced the boycotts movement, stating that restricting “the free flow of people and ideas with some universities because of their national identity is unwise, unnecessary, and irreconcilable with our core academic values.”
A 2016 report released by the AMCHA Initiative, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism at American colleges and universities, found significant statistical correlations between the presence of anti-Zionist student groups and anti-Semitic acts and between the presence of faculty who support academic boycotts of Israel and anti-Semitic acts.
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