Wiesenthal Center: Berkeley Student Israeli Divestment Vote “Hypocritical, Anti-Peace”

March 18, 2010

“In a world filled with human rights abuses across Africa, Asia and the Americas, UC Berkeley students vote to single out Israel for censure,” Center says

The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced today’s 16-4 vote by the Student Senate of UC Berkeley calling on the UC Regents and Student Government to divest from two companies, General Electric and United Technologies, that do business with the State of Israel. This vote was in response to what the Student Senate says, “Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories” and “Israel’s siege and bombardment of the Gaza Strip.”

“Ironically, today’s vote comes on a day when the 300th rocket in the last fourteen months from Hamas-controlled Gaza that continue to target Israeli civilian, this time murdering a farm worker in Netev Haasara,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.

“Human rights icon Natan Sharansky has identified what he calls the “Three Ds” when anti-Israel rhetoric falls into the category of anti-Semitism: Demonization, Delegitimization, and Double Standard,” Cooper continued. “In a world filled with human rights abuses across Africa, Asia and the Americas, the UC Berkeley students vote to single out Israel for censure is hypocritical and a classic example of Double Standard,” he said.

“This resolution will not help the quality of life for a single Palestinian, but is intended to render Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, helpless to defend its citizens from attack by Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists,” Rabbi Cooper said, adding, “What the resolution of course omits is that Israel voluntarily evacuated the Gaza Strip, along with 9,000 Jewish citizens in the hopes that this unilateral gesture of peace would help pave the way to a two-state solution. All Israel got in return is suicide bombers, thousands of Kassam rockets targeting civilian centers, not in the so-called ‘occupied territories, but in Israel proper,” Cooper added.

Rabbi Aron Hier, who heads iAct, the Wiesenthal Center’s campus outreach program, expressed disappointment, saying, “The timing and thrust of this outrageous initiative is especially troubling since it comes at a time when the UC system is struggling to deal with a rash of anti-Semitic and racist manifestations from Davis to Irvine to San Diego.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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