(April 15, 2010) Hillel today praised an anti-divestment vote by the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley (ASUC) Senate. By tabling a vote, the ASUC keeps in place a presidential veto that overturned a bill in support of divestment from companies with ties to Israel's military.
The ASUC can reconsider the measure at each of its next two weekly meetings before the current term expires. Berkeley Hillel plans to continue to work with senators during this period.
The following statements were issued today by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life President Wayne L. Firestone and Berkeley Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman.
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life President Wayne L. Firestone
We are pleased that the ASUC has voted to sustain President Will Smelko's veto of an anti-Israel divestment measure. This vote demonstrates that the more campuses learn about Israel, the better they understand the country's commitment to peace, democracy and human rights. We salute the student activists and Hillel professionals, led by Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, who have worked so hard on this issue. We are confident that Berkeley Hillel will continue to demonstrate extraordinary leadership in the coming weeks while the divestment measure continues to be under ASUC consideration.
Divestment measures do not contribute to peace and understanding on campus or in the Middle East. The seminar "Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State: Challenges and Perspectives," organized by Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow Chaya Gilboa in cooperation with Haifa University's Center for Jewish Education, on Tuesday, April 13, is just one example of Berkeley Hillel's ongoing effort to educate the campus about Israel. We will continue to bring resources to campus that fulfill the university's mandate as a venue for high-level discussion, such as the conference's keynote address by renowned Israeli jurist Ruth Gavison who underscored Israel's commitment to international standards and the rule of law.
We thank the local community partners and the Israel on Campus Coalition who played a critical role in providing resources for this effort. We are grateful to Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel for lending his powerful moral voice to this campaign.
Israel is central to Jewish identity and to Hillel's work. Hillel will continue to educate students about Israel at Berkeley and around the world.
Berkeley Hillel Executive Director Adam Naftalin-Kelman
Berkeley Hillel expresses its gratitude to the senators who helped to sustain President Will Smelko's veto of an anti-Israel divestment measure. President Smelko and the senators demonstrated sensitivity, wisdom, strength and courage. We will continue to lead the effort against this proposal and to educate the campus about Israel as it really exists and not as it is portrayed by its detractors.
Berkeley Hillel looks forward to continuing to work with ASUC and all student groups to bring this campus together around Berkeley's values of mutual respect, free inquiry and the pursuit of harmony on campus and around the world. Berkeley has been, and will always be, a leader in promoting peace around the world.
In addition to the student activists who led this campaign, we thank our many partners on campus and in the community who contributed to this outcome. We particularly want to thank writer and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Founder and Honorary Chair of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and 2010 Cal Alumnus of the Year Richard N. Goldman, for speaking out on our behalf.