"CU grad lobbying university to pull investments from Israel:
"Board of Regents has no plans to take up the issue"
By Brittany Anas, Staff Writer
Daily Camera (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Posted: 03/30/2011 08:13:53 PM MDT
A University of Colorado graduate is lobbying the school to pull its investments from Israel.
Activist Michael Rabb has started a grassroots movement and has submitted a proposed resolution to the Board of Regents, asking CU to examine its investments and endowments and divest from companies that he says support "immoral occupation and apartheid in Palestine."
"Some of these companies provide weapons and covert surveillance supplies that maintain the occupation by force," says the petition he's circulating at CU. "Others take or exploit Palestinian resources, including scarce water and even the land itself."
But Jewish organizations say Rabb's proposal would divide the university. And so far, the regents haven't taken up the matter.
"For us to get involved in the politics of Palestine and Israel isn't practical," said Regent Steve Bosley, R-Broomfield.
In the past, CU has divested from Sudan and South Africa.
CU system spokesman Ken McConnellogue said CU hasn't researched what investments would be affected by the activists' proposed divestment from Israel, but officials believe it's "minimal." The regents have not requested the university to report that information to them.
The proposed resolution Rabb is asking the board to consider says: "The Arabs in Palestine continue to suffer under Israel's illegal and immoral regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid, and ... the University of Colorado has a proud tradition of non-discrimination and commitment to human rights."
The Jewish Community Relations Council -- an umbrella coalition representing 37 local and national Jewish organizations in Boulder and Denver -- sent a letter to the Board of Regents calling Rabb's resolution outrageous. In their letter, Janet Sherman, director of the group, and Rick Kornfeld, chairman, say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be compared to apartheid and the government-sanctioned racial segregation in South Africa.
"While it is tempting to look exclusively at one side or the other to shoulder the blame, one-sided reactions do not serve to improve complicated circumstances," the letter says. "Instead, they exacerbate them. Therefore, we condemn all calls and campaigns for boycotting, divestment and sanctions of Israeli academic institutions, professors, products and companies that do business with Israel. We believe that any and all of these actions are counterproductive to the goal of peace."
In the 1980s, a student-led push and ultimately a national movement prompted the regents to selectively divest from certain companies doing business in South Africa. By 1988, more than 150 universities had participated in the anti-apartheid divestment campaign.
In 2006, CU regents unanimously agreed to pull investments from Sudan after a student activist raised the issue. At the time, board members said they were concerned that investments could support genocide in Darfur, and CU became among several universities to divest from the civil war-torn region.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or email@example.com.