Friday, April 16, 2010

Divestment Fails at Berkeley ... For Now

The UC-Berkeley student senate narrowly failed to override a veto of a bill which would have divested student funds from Israel. The override required 14 votes to approve, but failed 12-7-1. Since one of the "nay" votes was a supporter who switched her vote to enable the issue to be reopened at a later time, it's fair to say that the motion failed by one vote -- the one abstainer. So hardly a resounding victory for the good side.

Still, a win is a win. If this comes back up later this month, the pro-peace community has to be ready to mobilize and get try and get a more comfortable margin of victory.

Oh, and allow me to reiterate just how little I care about Desmond Tutu's opinion on this subject. Anti-apartheid hero he may be -- and nothing can take that away from him. But there is nothing intrinsic in being a hero of one social movement that insures you have progressive, egalitarian views with regards to another. And let's be clear: my problems with the statement discussed in the above link have nothing to do with some mythological inability to tolerate "criticism of Israel", and everything to do with Archbishop Tutu's extraordinarily offensive appropriation and contortion of Jewish history and experience.

Particularly if you're Christian clergy, you have to earn my trust -- and Archbishop Tutu has done the opposite, more than convincing me of his inegalitarian views towards Jews and Israel.

UPDATE: Hussein Ibish comments more on the vote, and what it symbolizes. Most importantly, he correctly notes that any "anti-occupation" strategy which brings together mainstreams Israelis and settlers is an anti-occupation strategy designed by idiots. Or by those who aren't, in any meaningful sense, "anti-occupation".

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