George Washington would be ashamed of the students at his namesake university who called Monday evening for the university’s administration to divest from Israel, the Jewish State and only true democracy in the Middle East.
As an alum of George Washington University (GW), I don’t blame him.
In his letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, Washington assured them they would be treated equally under the U.S. Constitution. He wrote, “For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
Theanti-Israel resolution, which came before the university’s student association (SA) and passed with 18 “ayes,” six “nays,” and six abstentions, sought “to support the divestment of all of the investments in the George Washington University’s endowment profiting from violation of international law and human rights affecting Palestinians, but also other communities globally.” Targeted companies included: The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Elbit Systems Ltd., Caterpillar Inc., CEMEX, General Electric, Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Raytheon Company, and Motorola Solutions, Inc.
The resolution’s passage came a week after Barnard College’s student government passed a similar measure.
The SA also failed to censure Brady Forrest, a student recently impeached from his leadership position in the student government for anti-Semitic posts on Facebook, prompting some students to walk out of the meeting in protest.
The resolution exemplifies bigotry against the only Middle East nation where Arabs are entitled to the same rights as Jewish-Israelis; for instance, there is an Arab Israeli on the nation’s supreme court. It is also the only Middle East nation with LGBTQ rights, and it is the only Middle East nation that gives women full civil rights.
I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors. This resolution isn’t about criticizing but demonizing the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, a Jewish State that was founded after the Holocaust and centuries of oppression; a Jewish state where the Northern Ziv Hospital treats victims of Bashar-al-Assad’s genocide in Syria, which this Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolution, like any other, refuses to condemn.
For both refusing to censure Forrest and defeat the resolution, to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan when he spoke out against the 1975 United Nations resolution that declared “Zionism is racism”: The GW student government has “joined the jackals.”
This article was co-published in The National Discourse.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, April 24, George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc released the following statement:
"Last night, the university’s student senate passed a resolution calling for divestment from certain companies because they do business with Israel. While I support the student senate’s right to express their views in the form of a resolution, I want to be clear to our university community that this does not represent the university’s views and the university will not implement such a proposal.
Our university is home to many people who are deeply engaged on the issues inherent to this conflict. We have hosted a range of programming, representing a wide variety of viewpoints and ideas. The university prioritizes the safety and security of all our students and our campus community. I encourage the GW community to foster an inclusive environment and to continue to engage in open, respectful dialogue."
By Jackson Richman
Jackson Richman is an editor and daily columnist for The National Discourse. He can be followed on Twitter at @jacksonrichman.