Pomona College Student Gov’t Removes Club Divestment from BDS Resolution

The Pomona College student government removed a provision from the recently passed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution that would have denied funding to Jewish and pro-Israel student groups on campus.

The resolution, which was first passed on April 23, had stated that the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) called upon the other Claremont Colleges Student Government Associations to stop funding clubs that “invest in or purchase goods or services from companies that contribute to the settlement and occupation of Palestinian occupied territories by the UN-designated companies or the Israeli state.” The resolution now only focuses on “internal ASPC spending, not club-related expenses,” according to The Claremont Independent.

But Janie Marcus, who heads the Claremont Progressive Israel Alliance, told the Journal that the resolution “remains insulting to Jewish students” and is “highly divisive.” “It terms Israel, the democratic Jewish homeland, ‘unethical’ and equates it to South Africa’s apartheid regime. I am disappointed that the senate passed this bill even after Jewish and Pro-Israel students explained their feelings at the ASPC meeting last week. Dropping the last clause does not erase the history of this bill, which was animated by a desire to target Israel and Jewish students at Pomona.

“As a Jewish student at Pomona, I am beginning to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome on campus,” she added. “And I know I am not alone.”

Other Jewish groups expressed similar concerns.

“While ASPC removed the provision of its resolution threatening to defund Jewish and pro-Israel student groups like Hillel and Chabad because they oppose divestment from companies doing business with Israel, the amended version of the divestment resolution is still an act in furtherance of the antisemitic Boycott campaign,” StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement. “This resolution remains extremely harmful to Jewish and pro-Israel students, and Pomona College must not allow for it to be implemented. We call on its administration to take every step necessary to ensure that this bigotry against Jewish students will not continue and to provide a safe learning environment free from antisemitism.”

AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “This dangerous and unprecedented resolution still directs the student government to prevent spending ‘that knowingly support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.’ This directive affects what the entire student body can or cannot buy and what events they can or cannot attend, and it incites bigotry against Israel and its on-campus supporters that will undoubtedly lead to harm. This is unacceptable.

“Pomona’s president must immediately nullify this vote. If she can’t or won’t guarantee that all students on her campus will be equally protected against attacks on their freedom of belief and expression, and if she cannot or won’t promise a campus free of harassment where all students can fully participate in campus life, then parents and students should think twice before spending $50,000+ a year to attend Pomona.”

Pomona College did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

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