|Cal ASUC - from 2008 meeting on fight|
The reason for the bill's creation was concern that the University of California was investing in companies that supplied Israel with materials used in alleged war crimes.
According to the Daily Californian, ASUC Senators voted 16 to 4 to pass the bill, following a hearing that drew 80 speakers and four hours of discussion.
According to the blog Desert Peace, Student Senator Rahul Patel said "In the 1980s the Berkeley Student Government was a central actor in demanding that the university divest from South African apartheid. Twenty-five years later, it is a key figure in shaping a nationwide movement against occupation and war crimes around the world."
He's right. This blogger remembers the riot that happened on campus surrounding South Africa. The difference was there was a more united front against South African apartheid and it was clear the UC system was standing in the way. But in this case, the matter of Israel is more complicated and comes with a divided audience at Berkeley. The same audience that saw a fight between Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine Advocates in 2008.
But it's also clear that Israel's bombing and invasion of Gaza was horrible and criminal. Many American Jews have expressed outraged at the action, even though there's a tendency for the media to focus on American Palestinian views. It's also an action that has put many American Jews in a terrible spot, especially at Cal.
The problem is the bill comes at a time when there has been a bit of anti-Israel bashing at C Berkeley. It's not that tensions are so high that campus life is threatened, but it's also clear that they are impacted by the bill's vote.
Hopefully, the central debate does not escalate into a campus problem. Right now, what's clear is that the ASUC has made what it wants to be seen as an anti-war vote, and not an anti-Israel vote.
It's not clear as of this writing if ASUC President Will Smelko will veto the bill. If anyone has an update and tips, please send an email here: email@example.com
Stay tuned. (and GO BEARS!)