Student senate at UC Riverside votes to overturn divestment resolution after Zionist pressure

Israel advocates are attempting to stifle Palestine solidarity activism on US campuses. ZUMA Press/Newscom

The student senate at the University of California at Riverside voted on Wednesday night to rescind a divestment resolution passed last month, following intimidation and “scare tactics” employed by Israel advocates and on-campus Zionist groups against student senators. Members of such groups spoke at the meeting in repeated attempts to discredit the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as well as the divestment resolution itself.

The original resolution, which was passed on 6 March, has now been deleted from the Associated Student government’s records at UC Riverside as it was rescinded. The students who supported the divestment resolution will informally address the senate next week. They say they will continue addressing their concerns regardless of the divestment resolution process, which would have to begin from scratch once again.

As we reported on Tuesday, it was recently revealed that Israel advocates and Zionist student groups had begun calling and emailing the student senators, claiming that the divestment resolution was “divisive” and that it “misrepresented” the student body. The student government then agreed to vote to rescind the divestment resolution. Last night, the move to rescind the resolution won out in a 12-2 vote, with a further 2 abstaining, according to UC Riverside’s Students for Justice in Palestine.

Student senator Ahlam Jadallah told The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday that the original divestment resolution was supported by approximately 40 student organizations on campus, and that during the vote last month, the senate “made the right decision” by passing the resolution. She had urged her fellow senators to stay committed to their original vote. 

The Associated Student government’s chambers were packed to capacity with students and members of the public in what was surely a record crowd for these types of meetings. People had to be turned away before the meeting was moved to a bigger room about an hour into the proceedings.

“A stark difference from last time”

Amal Ali of UC Riverside’s Students for Justice in Palestine phoned The Electronic Intifada late last night after the results were in. 

“It was definitely a stark difference from the last time,” she said. “But I’m ready to come back next week, and come back fighting. We have our game plan ready. We’re going to make sure it stays in the senate and if it is amended, that the language doesn’t change to the point that we no longer recognize our own divestment.”

As we posted yesterday, both Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and rock legend Roger Waters (who was recently interviewed on EI) immediately sent letters of support to the UC Riverside student senate, urging the senators not to back down on the vote.

Here are some of the Twitter highlights from last night.

Editor’s note: It was reported in an earlier version of this post that the divestment resolution would be back on the table and up for a new vote all over again next week, but that has been corrected. The students would have to re-introduce the divestment bill all over again, from the beginning, and will only be addressing the senate meeting informally next week.




This article is so biased. There were no scare tactics. Scare tactics have been used by the palestinian side to lobby the senators to origianlly vote a certain way. It wouldn't have been so easily overturned if the senators werent so uninformed about the original vote


This is hugely disappointing. No spine shown. Reason did not triumph but rather intimidation. When these senators learn of the accurate history of this conflict, reason should prevail.The real world real politik rules discounts reason and substitutes organized power.
UC San Diego prevailed and so can UC Riverside.


Is this the same Senate overturning its own decision from less than a month ago? Are they fickle? Or Irresponsible? (didn't bother informing themselves properly the first time around)
In the best car scenario, it's cold feet and pressure, and not very attractive to look upon


I represent both sides of this issue for ASUCR, and I can say that the reason the bill was rescinded was because senators felt like they hadn't heard the other side's opinions. They felt that the process in which SJP presented their case was unfair to students from Hillel and Highlanders for Israel, and didn't represent the transparent atmosphere that they wish to have. As for using "scare tactics," if you attended the meetings it was quite clear that both sides used intimidating language to sway the vote. However, students need to realize that senate does NOT vote based on pathos (emotion, but more on logos (logic). Students need to start basing their arguments--on both sides--with logic and not emotion. Thank you!


I must assume that the student senators simply knew too little, since the historic facts and international law leave no room for equivocation. There is simply no honest education on this subject in the US due to the pernicious and suffocating influence of the Israel lobby and influence network throughout US society as seen in this example. Israel's Reut (propaganda) Institute is directing a coordinated campaign to "attack" and "sabotage" advocates of "human rights" who are "delegitimizing" Israel (simple exposure is quite enough since Israel does an incomparable job of delegitimizing itself). What does it say about a society that identifies human rights activists as its greatest enemy? Need anything more be said?

I have yet to see a general history textbook that tells the truth about this, so it is necessary to read direct sources which most students have no time for or knowledge of. For this reason we provide condensed but comprehensive summaries of key facts and issues on our website,, but it is really quite simple at its root: it's been a 65-year armed robbery with no sheriff in town. This requires the world's private citizens to bypass the US government and media and step up to secure justice for the victims.

I belong to the generation that ended Jim Crow and the Vietnam War, and only hope that today's generation of emerging adults will be up to the task of ending Israel's vicious, racist colonial project called Zionism as well as neoliberal US imperialism and the rapid overheating of our planet. To do so they must show far more resolve and cajones than have been demonstrated here so far.


I fail to see what the 'other side' could be beside untenable championing of an illegal and brutal occupation.

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).