Calling Israel an apartheid state, Michael Rabb is set to go before the Board of Regents Tuesday, February 22nd and speak about the resolution sponsored by his group, CU-Divest, which asks the Board to divest its investment portfolio of any links to Israel. A CU Alum and self-proclaimed Palestine Liberation Advocate, Rabb is part of a network of national groups, including Sabeel, that have been actively promoting a movement called BDS, to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. They promote the view that a recalcitrant Israel is so much in contradiction to international law and the moral conscience of humankind that they deserve to be singled out and targeted for isolation amid international pressure. The design then is to force Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians from a position of weakness and duress without the benefit of even-handedness.
Sincere or not, and I vote insincere, such a position will lead to war and away from peace.
Within the last week, Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, averted a major disaster for Israel when she was given the order by the Obama Administration at the last minute to use the US veto of a Security Council Resolution calling Israel’s occupation of the West Bank illegal. Such a resolution would have the force of international law if passed, unlike UN body General Assembly resolutions which do not. The Security Council Resolution failed 15-1 on the strength of the US lone veto. Neither France, Great Britain or Russia made use of their veto power to stop it. The resolution was pushed and sponsored by the Palestinian Authority administration and its head, President Mahmoud Abbas, as his administration has called for recognition of a Palestinian State ahead of any negotiations. The Palestinians, as part of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, are bound by that agreement to avoid such measures, but they are proceeding anyway.
The Obama Administration has gone to great pains to pressure Israel and the Palestinians back into negotiations, but without success. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly called for the Palestinians to resume negotiations without preconditions, but the Palestinians have demanded an agreement on preconditions that are non-starters for Israel. One of these is to halt all construction in East Jerusalem, even in already Jewish areas considered bound for Israel in any final status negotiations. More recently, Obama has held long telephone conversations with Abbas to get him to either withdraw the recent UN Security Council Resolution or re-write it into something with which the US could agree, namely, a non-binding resolution on the illegality of Israeli Settlements in the West Bank. The problem here is that such a resolution, as put forth by Abbas, would include those Jewish areas of Jerusalem situated in the Eastern part of the city, and claimed by Abbas. Failing that, Obama okayed a veto, which he was abhorrent to do.
The BDS movement takes place within that larger picture of Palestinian attempts to isolate Israel and force it to negotiate from a position of weakness while the Palestinians negotiate, if at all, from a position of strength. The divestment movement also fits with the Palestinian attempt to gain US recognition unilaterally, outside of Israeli interests, for a Palestinian State. Many believe such a move would set up an eventual condition for war with Israel.
In this regard, the BDS movement has come to CU and CU-Divest is calling for a meeting on Wednesday night to organize a student presence on campus to push forward the BDS agenda. (see below)
CU Jewish students have already begun to organize their own protests to oppose the BDS presence at CU. Yona Ashkenazi, an organizer for Stand With Us, a Los Angeles-based group of pro-Israel activists, has asked for and gained recognition by the Regents to present a counter-argument to Rabb and CU-Divest. She will speak at the same Regents meeting on Tuesday as Rabb. In an interview, she has asked for community people to go to the public meeting Tuesday with the CU Regents. The meeting is at 1:00 pm Tuesday, at the University of Colorado Boulder, Qwest Research Park, 4001 Discovery Drive, 1st floor main conference room.
Efforts at an organizational meeting have already been started by CU students on Facebook and they plan to have a meeting on Tuesday, 6:00 pm at the new CU Chabad House on the Hill, 909 14th St., situated in a three-story building at the corner of 14th and Aurora. The Facebook page can be reached here. Rabbi Wilhelm of CU Chabad has said he invites community help, so try to make it to the meeting.
Information on Rabb’s group and their meeting, as well as the text of Rabb’s email to the regents and the proposed resolution is available from Rabb’s website, http://cu-divest.blogspot.com/