ANN ARBOR, Mich. ― The University of Michigan student government early Wednesday rejected a proposal calling for an anti-Israel boycott following hours of debate and a weeklong sit-in by students.
The 25-9 vote came after more than five hours of debate and discussion at a meeting that began Tuesday night, The Michigan Daily and The Ann Arbor News reported.
The proposal before Central Student Government had been tabled without action last week, leading boycott supporters to stage a sit-in at the government’s offices in the Michigan Union. With the meeting, the sit-in ended.
Hundreds of people attended the meeting and hundreds of others watched from an overflow area.
The resolution backed by a group called Students Allied for Freedom and Equality and using the hashtag #UMDivest on Twitter would have urged the university to sell holdings in companies that are accused of enabling Israeli human rights violations.
Student government representative Jacob Ruby called it a one-sided attack on Israel disguised as a human rights resolution.
“Not only is this resolution regarding an issue that is only peripherally related to campus life, the issue is incredibly divisive and greatly contributes to animosity between groups on this campus,” he said.
Sam Molnar, a student government representative in favor of the resolution, said the world’s future depends on building a nonviolent movement to end human rights violations.
“I support #UMDivest out of a love for my four little cousins who live in an illegal settlement in the West Bank,” he said.
Suha Najjar, a senior who was one of the original authors of the resolution, said that while it wasn’t the complete outcome that members of SAFE wanted, she was happy their voices were not silenced.
“I am upset. I am disappointed. But more so, I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” she said.
Besides protest organizers, other campus groups also encouraged students to attend. They included Hillel, which represents Jewish students on the Ann Arbor campus, but students who spoke at the meeting didn’t identify with specific organizations.