Monday, February 28, 2011
A CU at Boulder alumnus asked the university’s Board of Regents to consider a resolution to divest from companies that support Israel at the regents Tuesday (Feb. 22) meeting.
Boulder resident Michael Rabb, 64, read from a prepared text summarizing the resolution, for his allotted two minutes during the public comment section of the regents meeting.
A rebuttal, also two minutes, was given by Yona Eshkenazi, Colorado director of StandWithUs, whose mission is to ensure that Israel’s side of the story is told in communities, campuses and the media.
“The concept is similar to what happened in the 70s and 80s, where institutions all over the world said, ‘We’re not going to support companies that support aparthed in South Africa,’” Rabb told the IJN.
In the resolution, Rabb asked the university to divest from stocks from those companies that support “Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians.”
The resolution also stated, “Arabs in Palestine continue to suffer under Israel’s illegal and immoral regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid.”
It also noted that CU invests about $1.7 billion through various funds, endowments, gifts, development and pension funds and corporate and business entities, and called on CU to uphold its “proud tradition of non-discrimination and commitment to human rights.”
Amy Stein, director of the Boulder ADL, Jonathan Lev, executive director of the Boulder JCC, and Janet Sherman, director of the Denver-based Jewish Community Relations Council, (representing 37 local and national Jewish community organizations in Boulder and Denver) were included in a group of at least 10 people who opposed the resolution. JCRC submitted a formal letter to the CU Board of Regents in opposition.
“There was a pretty good turnout of community members at the regents hearing,” said Prof. Mark Loewenstein, a CU-Boulder law professor who also attended the meeting.
“What that should indicate to the regents, if they were paying attention, is that it would be a very highly charged issue, and they would find themselves in the middle of a public controversy [if they were to consider the resolution].
“It wouldn’t benefit the university in any way. It’s almost inconceivable to me that they would consider this resolution.”
Rabb said his only supporter at the meeting was his wife.
Loewenstein added that he believed the resolution violated the Board of Regents adoption of the principle of “institutional neutrality,” in section 2.1 of the board’s policy.
This principle states that CU will maintain “institutional neutrality in social and political matters, unless it determines that the issue directly affects the university, is detrimental to the achievement of the university’s mission and purposes, and/or threatens academic freedom.”
THE proposed divestment resolution was first brought to the attention of pro-Israel students when they saw Rabb handing out anti-Israel flyers on Feb. 22 on the CU campus, said Zach Silverman, 19, a CU-Boulder sophomore and the co-president of Students for Israel.
The flyers called for interested students to meet with Rabb on the following night and to join a group he is calling CU-Divest.
In response, Jewish students quickly printed rebuttal flyers, although by that time the number of students who were passing through the UMC fountain area had dwindled, and Rabb left a half hour later, Silverman said.
“We decided we needed to battle him with information that was truth and fact,” Silverman said.
“It was just one guy handing out flyers for this divestment meeting, but one guy is too many for us.”
Tuesday night (Feb. 22) about 25 CU students gathered to re-start the Students for Israel organization, which last met early in the fall semester, Silverman said.
Some members of Students for Israel were planning to attend the CU-Divest meeting, but they were told to “listen” and “not be disrespectful,” he said.
“We are not trying to engage in any kind of opposition,” Silverman said. “We are not trying to initiate any conflict. We are simply here to advocate, educate and encourage intelligent discussion about the situation.”
RABB, who said he graduated in 1983 from CU-Boulder with a master’s degree in telecom, said he thought “a few” students would show up to the his meeting to support the divestment cause.
“There is a significant number of faculty, professors and otherwise within the university community who are very interested in this issue and concerned about the investment policies that support Israel’s apartheid,” Rabb said.
“I expect a few, not many, of the faculty to show up, although this is a student (organization) that we are trying to get started, but it’s open to the public.”
Rabb did not name the faculty members.
Rabb said he is a member of Global Boycott Divestment Sanction Movement, whose local group, Denver BDS, will sponsor an “Israel Apartheid week” in March.
The group’s Facebook page lists 32 fans, and says it is planning a “series of flashdances for Israel Apartheid Week” on Feb. 26 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and lists the location as 1660 Ogden St. in Denver.
Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, the executive director of University of California Berkeley Hillel and a former rabbi at CU-Boulder’s Hillel, said he didn’t think Rabb was representative of the climate on the CU campus.
“While I was at CU, I found the administration incredibly supportive of Jewish studies, Hillel and Chabad,” he said.
“From my understanding this was not a student-initiated movement of any sort.”
Last spring, Berkeley’s Student Senate failed to overide its President Will Smelko’s veto of a bill calling for the university to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s engagement in the West Bank and Gaza.
If passed, the bill would have required divestment of students’ association assets from weapons manufacturers General Electric and United Technologies.
“I don’t take this guy (Rabb) too seriously,” Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm of Chabad at CU said.
“If it becomes a serious issue, and if the regents do seriously consider this, then both Chabad and Hillel will come together to get student and faculty support to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
Copyright © 2011 by the Intermountain Jewish News
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
2-minute Public Comment, Michael Rabb, 22 Feb 2011, Board of Regents Meeting,
Good Afternoon, My name is Michael Rabb, I’m alum of CU Boulder, graduate school, MS Telecom, 1983, and a local
I wanted to take advantage of public comment today to address the Board of Regents to communicate a serious concern among the University community, that investments held by the
You know there is a global campaign of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) for
As a first step in this campaign, I have drafted a resolution for action by the Board of Regents. This draft resolution essentially requests that the University state unequivocally that it abhors apartheid and will do all it can to show its position on apartheid within its business practices by ending its investments that support the oppression of the Palestinian people,
It also requests the Board of Regents immediately commission an examination of its investments including all funds, endowments and pension funds with an objective of identifying investments in companies, institutions and investment funds that directly and indirectly support Israel’s apartheid policies,
And finally, the resolution requests the Board of Regents commit to act on the recommendations of the study to actually divest of its holdings in such companies and funds.
I request the Board of Regents consider this draft resolution and adopt the resolution. I hope we can meet with the Board of Regents in the future to develop this action.
For more information and the full text of the resolution please go to cu-divest.blogspot.com.
Thank you for your time.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
There is serious concern among the University community that the current investments held by the University of Colorado may violate the University’s commitment to human rights and social justice, and some of the University's investments directly and indirectly support the apartheid policies of Israel.
Just as the University did in supporting efforts to end the genocide in Sudan and the apartheid in South Africa, the University should stop investing in companies that support Israel's oppression and apartheid of Palestine.
Please take steps to acknowledge that the University of Colorado abhors apartheid and will do all it can to show its position on apartheid within its business practices by ending its investments in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.
I will make this appeal to the Board of Regents on February 22, 2011, at the Regents' board meeting. Please see my proposed resolution attached.
Michael Rabb | Palestine Liberation Advocate | cell: 720-837-9674 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 2002 18th Street, Boulder CO 80302 | http://cu-divest.blogspot.com/
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Chair, Board of Regents
FROM: Michael Rabb
CU Alum (MS Telecom, 1983), 2002 18th Street, Boulder CO 80302
DATE: February 22, 2011
SUBJECT: Divestment of stock in companies that support Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians
I. REQUEST FOR ACTION BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS, adopt the following resolution:
WHEREAS the Arabs in Palestine continue to suffer under Israel’s illegal and immoral regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid, and
WHEREAS, the University of Colorado has a proud tradition of non-discrimination and commitment to human rights, and
WHEREAS it is a guiding principle of Board of Regents of the University of Colorado to promote and uphold the principles of ethics, integrity, transparency, and accountability, and
WHEREAS it is a guiding principle of the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado to be conscientious stewards of the university’s financial resources, and
WHEREAS the University of Colorado invests about $1.7 billion, through its various funds, endowments, gifts, development and pension funds, in institutional, corporate and business entities, and
WHEREAS there is serious concern among the University community that the current investments held by the University of Colorado may violate the University’s commitment to human rights and social justice, and some of these investments directly and indirectly support the apartheid policies of Israel,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the University of Colorado abhors apartheid and will do all it can to show its position on apartheid within its business practices by ending its investments in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Board of Regents of the University of Colorado, immediately commission an examination of its investments including all funds, endowments and pension funds with an objective of identifying investments in companies, institutions and investment funds that directly and indirectly support Israel’s apartheid policies, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Regents of University of Colorado commit to act on the recommendations of such a study to divest of its holdings in such companies and funds as soon as possible.