April 13, 2016
Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC); Benjie Kaplan, executive director of Minnesota Hillel; Ilan Sinelnikov, president and founder of Students Supporting Israel National (Students Supporting Israel); and Sami Rahamim, JCRC board member, Minnesota Hillel Vice President, and president of the University of Minnesota Chapter for Students Supporting Israel issued the following statement in response to the University of Minnesota Student Association's divestment decision Tuesday:
"Tuesday evening, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) voted against singling out companies that do business with Israel for divestment from the University of Minnesota.
"The MSA instead approved an amended resolution which calls for the university to responsibly invest. Because this amended resolution in no way subjects Israel, or companies which do business in Israel, for targeted divestment, this action was a clear victory for UMN United. UMN United is the student-led coalition that brought together diverse communities at the University of Minnesota in opposition to the divisive UMN Divest campaign. The vote to amend was approved 37-30-7 and the final vote on the amended resolution passed by a vote of 45-18-7.
"As they did on March 8, 2016, when divestment was first stricken from the MSA Forum agenda, MSA members again wisely voted to reject singling out Israel and oppose the BDS movement, which marginalizes members of the Jewish and pro-Israel communities, and makes students feel unsafe.
"By voting as they did both on the amendment which UMN United brought forward, and on the amended resolution, MSA decisively agreed that subjecting Israel to demonization, delegitimization, and double standards is wrong and divisive.
"We are extremely proud of the students at Minnesota Hillel, Students Supporting Israel, and the entire UMN United community for their victory on Tuesday. Jewish and pro-Israel students showed extraordinary resolve in fighting for the moral and intellectual integrity of the university since this measure was introduced. They rallied an impressive campaign over several months to urge their peers to vote against several divestment resolutions which targeted Israel. Students effectively engaged with campus allies, met with faculty and university administrators, and educated MSA members about the issue.
"The JCRC, Minnesota Hillel, and Students Supporting Israel, as well as our campus and community partners, will not allow divisive campaigns to tear apart our campus community or to isolate Jewish students because of their religious or ethnic identities, or because they support the Jewish State of Israel.
"We will continue to work with students to create a community that supports peace and honest dialogue and that works to make our campus, our community, and our Jewish homeland safer and more peaceful.
"We also thank the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, the Minnesota Rabbinical Association, the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and Hillel International for their tremendous leadership on this issue.
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.