Apr 22, 2010

Dailycal: "No Resolution Reached on ASUC Senate Divestment Bill"

dear chevreh,

thanks to rabbi adam naftalin-kelman, the rabbis of all the Berkeley shuls, two survivors who spoke last night and akiva tor's tireless (and skillful) work, the veto over the ASUC divestment bill held last night.  i participated in the meeting with a few student senators along with those mentioned above, and assure you that our work is far from over.  below is the dailycal article, and I ask all of you to send words of support to berkeley hillel (http://pages.berkeleyhillel.org/), and to support them financially if possible.  They are, students and professionals, working 20-hour days to defeat divestment, and deserve chizuk from the wider Jewish community.

kol tuv,
rabbi creditor

Dailycal: "No Resolution Reached on ASUC Senate Divestment Bill"



After deliberating in closed session last night over ASUC President Will Smelko's March 24 veto of a bill urging the University of California to divest from companies that supplied Israel with materials used in alleged war crimes, the ASUC Senate failed to come to a consensus on whether or not to submit a new bill with similar objectives.

After moving into a closed session for discussion at 8:40 p.m., senators discussed the bill and the motion to override Smelko's veto for more than two hours before returning to an open session and ultimately deciding to submit a new bill that could be placed on this week's agenda and referred to a committee where it would be considered on Monday. But the senators could not come to a consensus and the bill was not added to the agenda.

Emiliano Vaughn-Huet and Tom Pessah--co-authors of the original bill--submitted a new bill at 12:35 a.m., but several senators wanted to discuss the new bill before voting to place it on this week's agenda. Student Action Senator and President-elect Noah Stern said at the meeting he was opposed to placing the new bill on the agenda because it violated procedural rules that state any bills being introduced to the senate must be submitted by Tuesday.

The meeting continued with multiple recesses and another hour-long discussion of the new bill, but several senators still had reservations about the content of the bill.

Student Action Senator Nhu Nhu Nguyen said at the meeting she supports the half of the bill that calls for divestment, but that she could not support the other half.

"The issue is the specificity of the bill," she said at the meeting. "I agree with all the things that call for divestment, but the specificity is something I cannot agree with."

Vaughn-Huet said at the meeting he felt there was no reason to proceed with the new bill because there would still be senators not willing to support it.

"There's no point in trying to get the bill to committees because they won't vote to support it," he said at the meeting. "They are afraid or don't want to criticize Israel's human rights abuses."

However, Student Action Senator Sandra Cohen said at the meeting she felt like some of the things discussed during closed session were not addressed in the new bill.

"I feel like some senators' concerns were never met," she said at the meeting. "Just as you feel your time was wasted, I feel that my time was also wasted."

Ultimately the senate did not place a new bill on the agenda to be referred to committees and did not vote on overriding the veto before the meeting adjourned at 1:33 a.m.

SQUELCH! party Senator Emily Carlton--a co-sponsor of the bill--said at the meeting she had hoped the new bill would be added and that she was disappointed with the results of the meeting.

"I'm disappointed and frustrated with the lack of willingness to talk about things right now," she said at the meeting.---
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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