In a major win for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, BDS movement, students at the Barnard College, an elite women’s liberal arts college in New York City with a high percentage of Jewish students, have voted to divest from eight companies that do business in Israel.
An overwhelming 64 percent of the students voted for pulling out of Hyundai, Boeing and the Israeli national water carrier Mekorot, which according to the BDS movement’s website, practices “water apartheid for Palestinians.”
“Mekorot steals water from Palestinian aquifers, supplies water to illegal settlements and sells Palestinians their own water, often at exorbitant prices,” the campaign says on its website adding that it has been accused of violating international law.
The referendum was brought forth by the Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine and mentioned ways these companies “profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.”
So far, no university has ever divested from Israel but the students at Barnard are hoping that Barnard college may make an exception and be a bellwether.
“If Barnard, the most selective women’s college in the nation, divests, it will influence other schools,” SJP organizer Caroline Oliver stated, according to Forward news outlet.
“These things do matter, they influence how people think on campus,” the president of the pro-Israel club Aryeh, Albert Mishaan, told the Forward Tuesday. “These victories, however symbolic, become the next jumping-off point for further anti-Israel campaigns.”
Barnard has approximately 850 Jewish students, out of a total undergraduate population of around 2,500. Some 1,153 participated in the vote.