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JOHNS | Cornell’s Activist Myopia

Just how global is the focus of Cornell’s globalist activist community? At first glance, it is globalist without reservation: From climate crusaders demanding the University divest from fossil fuels to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, campus progressive activists this semester repeatedly have called for Cornell to make dramatic changes to further their political vision. Cornellians certainly have the right to petition the University, and it is understandable why they would begin their activism here. President Martha Pollack, for her part, properly noted in her response to the BDS movement that “the principal purpose of our endowment is to provide income for advancing our mission-related objectives.” The endowment, she said, “must not be viewed as a means of exercising political or social power.” That is sensible logic. Of course, this will not deter activists from their quest to politicize the University endowment.

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GUEST ROOM | Dialogue Beyond BDS

Corrections appended. With the failure of the BDS resolution before the Student Assembly this past Thursday, Cornell Hillel and Cornellians for Israel, both of which strongly opposed the measure, declared a victory for peace. However, peace and dialogue have not won out just yet. If Hillel and CFI are serious about promoting human rights of Palestinians and Israelis, they must walk the walk. If Hillel cares about dialogue, it should strive to bring in Palestinian speakers as well as Israeli critics of the occupation of Palestinian land such as Breaking the Silence, a group of Israel Defense Forces veterans that candidly discusses military activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and B’tselem, a human rights organization dedicated to ending the occupation.

Omar Din '19, center, a representative on Student Assembly and member of the Convocation Committee, speaks in favor of the divestment resolution at a meeting on Thursday.

Student Assembly Votes Against Resolution on Divestment Movement

Student Assembly members voted Thursday to reject Resolution 36, which would “urge” Cornell to divest from companies “profiting from the occupation of Palestine and human rights violations.” The vote included 13 no, 14 yes and one abstention from S.A. members, as well as two votes by the community members that were against the resolution.

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GUEST ROOM | A Rocket Hit My House. Now BDS Wants Me Out.

In January 2009, a long-range missile from Gaza was fired into Israel. This has been a common occurrence ever since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. As a child, I was taught at school to immediately run to a bomb shelter if sirens go off, so I did that. I was home alone in my room and quickly ran to the shelter we had in our house. It was 9:30 a.m. Normally, I would stay in the shelter and wait for the sirens to stop, as rockets rarely reached my town of Gedera.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘A Jewish Case for Divestment’

To the Editor:

I read the March 25 guest column in The Sun, “A Jewish Case for Divestment.” I graduated from Cornell in 1971, and I remember a course I took in the Arts School on public opinion. It is probably relevant to this discussion because all of us have beliefs based on what we read, see and hear. I remember my dad reading about the 1956 Arab-Israeli war and crying, “They’re killing more Jews again.” Being seven at the time, I had no idea what he was talking about, but it seemed frightening to me since I knew I was Jewish and had no idea if I was in danger. Later in life, I learned he was stabbed by a Nazi who was trying to kill him, and that the Nazis murdered his uncle, aunt and their 18-year-old daughter. I have read a lot about Israel, pre-Israel Palestine and the various attempts to attack the Jews.

President Martha E. Pollack responded to the BDS movement during an S.A. meeting in March.

Student Groups, S.A. Candidates Address Pollack’s BDS Response

In a letter of response sent to Students for Justice in Palestine, President Martha Pollack addressed the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement on campus and recent efforts to pass a supporting resolution within the Student Assembly, as The Sun previously reported. Reactions by student groups and Student Assembly presidential candidates varied from supportive to critical.

Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On Human Rights

Not a day passes without Israel escalating its assault on the Palestinian people. The 2018 Nation State Law has drawn mass outrage from Palestinians and ethno-religious minorities such as the Druze and Coptic Christians and Israeli Jews. Despite the law’s virtual confirmation of Israel as a racialized apartheid state, the United States has been steadfast in their support for the occupying regime. Since Israel’s origin, the state has dispossessed countless Palestinians through violent means, starting with the 1948 al-Nakba (“The Catastrophe”) in which nearly a million indigenous Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes or otherwise murdered by Zionist militias. The U.S. shares a common history with Israel as a fellow settler-colonial project rooted in genocide, making the countries’ current close relationship unsurprising.

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JOHNS | Lessons from Yad Vashem

Up the slope of Mount Herzl, in western Jerusalem, lies a 44-acre complex that is one of the world’s most moving testaments to the real life costs and consequences of totalitarianism. Yad Vashem, which I visited earlier this month as part of a small Cornell student delegation, is often described oversimplistically as Israel’s “Holocaust memorial.” Yad Vashem memorializes the millions of innocent lives lost to the Holocaust, but also those — Jews and non-Jews — who bravely resisted it. One does not leave Yad Vashem without a deep recognition of what happens when the power of the absolute state is wedded to an ideology that denies the God-given, individual rights of man. This past Sunday, the world appropriately commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, one of the most solemn international memorial days marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration and death camp operated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Each International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we hear the phrase “Never Again.” Yet, sadly and frighteningly, we appear to be in the process of forgetting anyway.