The ASUC Senate will be revisiting one of UC Berkeley’s most contentious issues with the introduction of a bill that calls for the divestment of all ASUC and UC funds from any companies associated with the Israeli military or settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The bill — which appeared on the agenda for Wednesday’s senate meeting — calls for divestment of ASUC and UC assets from any companies that provide support to Israel’s military in Palestine or contribute to the building, maintenance or economic development of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.
The bill will go to the senate’s External Affairs Committee for consideration, after which senators may call for a vote.
A similar bill attempting to divest from Israel in 2010 led to heated debates, drawing sometimes hundreds to senate meetings and bringing international attention to campus. This bill was passed but then vetoed by then president Will Smelko. The senate failed to gather the majority two-thirds vote necessary to override the veto.
The current bill, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa, calls the UC a “complicit third party” in Israel’s “illegal occupation and resulting human rights abuses.” It identifies and seeks divestment from at least $14 million in UC Retirement Program and General Endowment assets in companies such as Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard.
Student Action senator and presidential candidate Rafi Lurie has authored an opposing bill also to be introduced at Wednesday night’s meeting that calls for the ASUC to instruct managers of its funds to “seek investment opportunities that strengthen Israeli-Palestinian cooperations,” rather than divesting funds.
Read the full text of the bills below.