UVA Students Want Vote on Israel Divestment

by James A. Bacon

A student group at the University of Virginia is petitioning the student-run University Board of Elections at the University of Virginia to hold a referendum calling for an audit of UVA’s endowment funds to determine how much are invested in companies “engaging in or profiting from the State of Israel’s apartheid regime and acute violence against Palestinians and to immediately divest all funds so identified.”

The petition is backed by UVA Apartheid Divest (UVAAD), which seeks to unite UVA students in the struggle against “imperialism, colonialism, and militarism in pursuit of collective liberation.”

The organization’s vision states, “We envision a free Palestine, where everyone can live as free and equal citizens. We necessarily envision a world free from colonialism and imperialism, and from all the interrelated systems of oppression that hold them.” The initiative mirrors other BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) initiatives aimed at Israel taking place at other universities around the country.

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that the referendum had been scheduled.

The petition contains the following resolutions:

RESOLVED That the University community asks that, at a minimum, acknowledging Israel as a victim of violence should not be separated from acknowledging Palestine as a victim of settler colonialism and apartheid; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED  That while the damage of erasing Palestinian narratives in the University’s initial statement cannot be undone, the University community requests the University of Virginia to act on its claims of fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion for each of its students by not further ignoring the pain and existence of Palestinian students and community members; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED That the University community asks UVIMCO to subject itself to an external auditing process to determine the extent to which the University’s endowment is financially implicated in corporations that profit from or engage in human rights violations, including but not limited to the State of Israel’s apartheid regime; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED That the University community calls on UVIMCO to divest its stocks, funds, and endowment from companies that profit from any and all acts of human rights violations across the world.

The following student organizations, primarily leftist and racial/ethnic identity-based groups, have signed the petition.

Students for Justice in Palestine Divest
UVA Asian Student Union
Muslim Student Association
Minority Rights Coalition
Muslims United
Faculty for Justice in Palestine
Jewish Voice for Peace
Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society
National Lawyers Guild
Black Muslims
Queer Student Union
Environmental Justice Collective
Organization of African Students
Med Students for Palestine
Black Student Alliance
Arab Student Organization
Indian Student Association
Young Democrat Socialists of America
Palestine Culture Club
Hindu Student Council
Engineers for Palestine
National Organization of Minority Architecture Students
Bengali Student Organization
Central Asians Student Association
Iraqi American Union
Pakistani Students’ Association
Central Americans for Empowerment
National Organization of Minority Architecture Students
Lebanese Club
Sikh Student Association
UVA Survivors

In 2022, Student Council was scheduled to vote on a measure condemning Virginia’s “Continued Normalization and Legitimization of the Israeli Apartheid State’s Occupation of Palestine.” The resolution was withdrawn, however, after more than a dozen Jewish students campaigned against it.

The campus climate has changed since then. No comparable movement has arisen among Jewish students — or conservative, moderate, or independent students for that matter — to contest the UVAAD petition. With rare exceptions, the few Jewish students who do push back against the pro-Palestinian narrative do so anonymously. They have been cowed into silence.

“Civil dialogue” at UVA means listening passively to the demands of the militant, leftist minority.

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25 days ago

A wise sage once noted history not only repeats but rhymes. Having spent my youth growing up in Venezuela, which now is a Marxist hellhole I cannot help but note the use in the petition of the same Marxist lexicon as I remember hearing as a child.

Simon Bolivar, the Venezuelan South American liberator, purposefully sent his nephew to UVA in the 1820’s to learn the ways of our fledgling republic in order to so benefit all of South America. Would he be so inclined today as to UVA?

Lorna gladstone
Lorna gladstone
25 days ago
Reply to  Clarity77

I grew up in Chile and we are not doing so well either. This is the path to hell these pathetic people want to take.

25 days ago

Thank you Lorna and I am sure like myself part of your heart still resides in South America. I find those of us who have personally watched in horror as these countries have “gone down the path to hell,” as you rightfully state, we are now faced with the specter of the same here in the U.S. Even more acutely IMO for those of us who love UVA and what Jefferson envisioned.

I have previously clearly warned here on TJC it is with even greater caution that one must look at those on the left, especially present day faculty at UVA who would so appear like a snake to paint themselves as somehow favorably inclined to how we think as conservatives as a pathway to promoting dialogue. Not quite.

Case in point is the recent favorable attention given on TJC to Rachel Wahl. Amazingly she espouses that the left just like the right is similarly inclined to critical thinking. Really?! You can readily access her stuff in the School of Education and its program web pages as to Educating for Democracy. She gives glowing and fawning credit to a Marxist fellow named Paulo Friere who has been accurately characterized by the following:Freire contributed a philosophy of education which blended classical approaches stemming from Plato and modern Marxistpost-Marxist, and anti-colonialist thinkers. 

Friere was Brazilian. Like Chavez in Venezuela, now Lula, illegitimately installed as president(I am certain in large part by Friere acolytes) is there any doubt as to the present and future misery of Brazil?

Wahl given her fawning words as to Friere can IMO be fairly deemed a Friere acolyte. She readily exposes herself in the terms and jargon she uses in attempting to appear to be in favor of critical thinking while those of us who have experienced this first hand in now Marxist hellholes are alarmed at the creepy deja vu feeling she elicits.

I would suggest that the TJC fully vet and disclose to the readership any future UVA faculty who would be given a positive light on TJC as to their respective and stated mentors or thought leaders to which they adhere. It would save the readership the time to have to research and fully see who the subject in fact is.

BTW, are there any left on Grounds who in any way point to Jefferson on their program web pages as to inspiration? It would be an interesting exercise to do a historical assessment at UVA as to that. I would bet money it would show a sharp dropoff from the day Ryan stepped into the president’s office.

Lorna gladstone
Lorna gladstone
25 days ago

If the board of visitors agrees to do this they will see their income drop precipitously and not supplemented by their Jewish alums. Cutting off their silly noses to spite their silly little faces. Israel did not start this. Hamas did. Have they forgotten this? Israeli’s did not cut off women’ breasts nor did they rape any, but I guess crimes against women are immaterial to those backing Hamas.

25 days ago

“We envision a free Palestine, where everyone can live as free and equal citizens.”
Have you consulted Hamas on this?

mark katz
mark katz
25 days ago
Reply to  HooDaMan

Have you consulted Netanyahu on this?

In March 2019, Netanyahu told his Likud colleagues: “Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas … This is part of our strategy – to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank.”

Geoffrey Close
25 days ago

VIMCo has an outstanding long term investment performance returning over 10% consistently over 5,10 and 20 years. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
UVA students should be required to take an investments course in the Comm School before being allowed to vote . They’d learn that ESG investing is just a fad that is going out of style

Patrick Ryan
Patrick Ryan
25 days ago

The Tower of Babel is under construction.

Geoffrey Close
25 days ago

Maybe an idea for a program might be a joint program with UVAAD and the Jefferson council inviting successful investor UVA alum Paul Tudor Jones to discuss how to successfully invest Endowment Funds.

Peter LeQuire College '65
Peter LeQuire College '65
25 days ago

Among the “student organizations” named above is one calling itself “Dissenters”. While there may be UVa students who belong to this organization, I don’t think it is a “student” organization. Their website describes themselves here – https://wearedissenters.org/our-story/

‘Nuf said.

Kevin Short
Kevin Short
25 days ago

This is so embarrassing. Thomas Jefferson will be rolling over in his grave right now there are no freer Arabs in the Middle East than the Arabs in Israel the only democracy in the area what can we do to help?

25 days ago

Having a bit to think on this – UVa admissions features prominently. We have sheep rather than independent thinkers. And of course the bits of faculty who prey on the sheep as useful idiots.

13 days ago

The local Arabs started calling themselves Palestinians around 1967. The Jews have been indigenous to that land for over 3,000 years. Obviously, the newly minted “Palestinians” had no history on that land. There has never been a nation called Palestine, it is just a region. There has never been a separate Palestinian language, culture, currency, anything.
A new Palestinian “two state solution” would have to be based on a new Constitution that recognizes Israel’s right to exist and causes a cultural change in Palestine. That is not likely to happen.
Note that the Arabs have been offered land for peace five times since 1936 and rejected every offer. Then Israel removed 50,000 settlers from Gaza in 2005 and gave the territory to the Palestinians as an independent state, which then spent 18 years attacking Israel. There has been no “occupation” for 18 years.
The Palestinian population has grown 500% over the last 70 years (i.e. no genocide).
75% of Palestinians support Hamas.
The PLO has a $300M/year terrorist pension program that rewards the families of terrorists who get killed or captured.
But somehow the “Palestinians” are the victims?