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Letter to the editor: Vote no on proposal to end ties with companies that do business with Israel

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Caterpillar equipment is frequently seen around Ohio State's campus. Here, machines are shown in China. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Caterpillar Inc., which does business with Israel, often has equipment around OSU’s campus. Here, machines are shown in China. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Letter to the editor:

This year during the Undergraduate Student Government elections, students are being asked to express their opinion on whether the Ohio State University should have financial ties with companies that do business with the nation of Israel.

The two authors of this letter have very different backgrounds. One of us is Christian, the other is Jewish. One of us is a Republican, the other is a Democrat. One of us grew up in a small town in Southeast Ohio, and the other grew up in Cincinnati. But we do have some things in common: We both had the privilege to serve as the USG president during our years as OSU students, we both bleed Scarlet and Gray and we both believe that this proposal is bad for Ohio State.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is incredibly complex, and OSU provides a wonderful setting to study and debate the conflict in an intellectually honest manner. Unfortunately, this ballot proposal does just the opposite. It is one-sided propaganda written by an outside national group who systemically spreads its extreme views from campus to campus in a similar fashion.

We know that the Buckeye community is wise enough to see past this. Many people come to OSU because of its reputation for diversity and inclusion. It is a university where people of all different backgrounds are able to work together. The State of Israel, which contains holy sites for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, embodies this same spirit of diversity and inclusion. Discriminatory tactics like this ballot proposal only serve to widen the gap between the two groups. Instead, we should be working toward bringing both sides together in the spirit of a peaceful resolution to the conflict.    

Additionally, many of the companies with which this ballot initiative asks the university to end its relationship are companies that invest in our students and provide jobs to our alumni. Boeing and GE Aviation are examples of companies that could be harmed. Boeing supports approximately 397,000 jobs in Ohio and contributes more than $2.5 million to Ohio charities. GE Aviation has a tremendous partnership with our College of Engineering. Currently, the company has 40 paid student researchers from OSU. It is the top intern employer in the College of Engineering and the second-largest employer of College of Engineering alumni. These are strong American companies that invest in our state, our university, our students and our alumni. Why on earth would we want to stop investing in them?

There’s no doubt that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tragic. Far too many lives have been lost. However, this ballot initiative is not about religion or politics. Instead, it’s about the core values of our Buckeye community. No matter your viewpoint on hot-button issues, we hope you can agree that our community values diversity and intellectual curiosity and rejects intolerance and propaganda. We both hope and believe that the research and teaching that takes place every day at OSU will one day contribute to a lasting peace in the Middle East. In the meantime, we hope that students will come together and vote NO on this ballot initiative, just as the two of us have come together to oppose it.

Micah Kamrass
USG President 2010-11
kamrass.2@osu.edu

Taylor Stepp
USG President 2012-14
stepp.45@osu.edu

53 comments

  1. Informing a construction contractor that was awarded a bid to execute work on campus that they cannot utilize any Caterpillar equipment because that equipment company has financal ties to Israel would be a rather amusing discussion to watch. Once they see a change order submitted by the contractor of the costs to demob & replace their equipment on-site with other rental equipment not named Caterpillar, I’m sure this request would then be retracted.

    What’s next, companies that do business at tOSU and with Russia? How about China? Maybe Iran? Please stop before our great unviersity digs too big of a hole (and there are a few that have been created recently) that you can not get out of and go tell this radical group to take their views where the sun don’t shine.

  2. Madalyn Hawthorn

    This was wonderfully written . I had no idea they were voting on something so ridiculous. I am glad we have students who stand behind Israel, that is what not only out University needs, but our country. Well done Taylor and Micah!

  3. Previously Uninformed Student

    Incredible read. Vote No!

  4. Concerned student

    Thank you, former presidents. You guys are so different but represent the common interest of the student body. I’m going to vote no 🙂

  5. As soon as I read the authors’ names, I knew this was a joke. While President of USG, Taylor Stepp failed to represent and respect the diversity on our campus, especially the Palestinians students, which at one point, were initially rejected funding for their cultural event. The consequences of these companies’ actions is harmful to the OSU community directly, including students whose families and friends experience occupation, systematic discrimination, death, injury, and other forms of human rights violations. But of course you wouldn’t understand. Just go home Taylor and continue looking for cushy jobs at top 5 law firms, and ignore the fact that our tuition invests in companies reigning terror on innocent children overseas. And by the way, I heard there are some AIPAC job openings, you should definitely consider looking into that!

    Vote YES to DIVEST everyone. Peace

  6. The hypocrisy of this letter astounds me. You want to criticize propaganda, but only present one side of an issue?
    FYI to readers: Pro-Israel groups in America are remarkably well funded. Get on their side, and your future political campaign just got bankrolled.
    These authors are doing what will put their future campaigns a step ahead, no more, no less. Think what you want, but take this name-calling with a grain of salt.

  7. Taylor knows what he’s talking about. Vote NO. #SAVEOSU

  8. I fail to see how you and your family are affected directly by something happening thousands of miles away. I also fail to see how this affects any OSU students who aren’t Palestinian. So, explain to me how I am directly affected by the conflict in the middle east? I do know that I will be directly affected if these companies are kicked off our campus.

  9. Engineering Student

    My issue with this proposal is that it groups these ENTIRE corporations as horrible war machines complicit in the human rights violations in Israel. Though there may be small divisions of each of these companies involved in the military sector this referendum seeks to inhibit, overall, these corporations are huge and diverse. My issue here is that most of our funding and interaction with these companies is with the civilian divisions. I don’t understand why we have to cut funding from a GE commercial engine research project seeking to improve fuel economy, or a project funded by Boeing that is looking into new ways to design civilian aircraft. This bill is sloppy and irresponsible by not attacking the actual source of the damages it is trying to prevent.

  10. Passionate student

    This issue asks that Ohio State DIVEST from multiple of Ohio State’s close company partners. But their partnerships are stupid and don’t really benefit me.

    General Electric makes much of the equipment for the James Cancer Hospital to allow OSU researchers to do cancer research and treat cancer patients. But, I don’t have cancer, in-fact…no-one in my family has cancer! We don’t need GE’s support. It makes more sense to vote YES to DIVEST, duh.

    Also, Caterpillar Inc. provides machinery for a bunch of the construction around campus and globally. But OSU has soooo many buildings already. Why do we need to support Caterpillar? We can just use the buildings we already have – renovations are a waste of money. We should learn in yurts. They are better for the environment.

    Boeing may have all those Ohio jobs and donated $2.5 million dollars to Ohio charities, but how do we REALLY know they care about Ohio? Plus, who really wants a job in the aviation industry anyway. Flight is a fad.

    Don’t support these irrelevant companies. People that tell you to vote no will try to confuse you with facts. Everyone knows opinions are more important.

  11. I liked this, so here it is…

    “OSUdivest does not care about historical perspective. They see a thriving nation like Israel, with many intelligent, innovative people working toward the betterment of mankind, while a poor group or Arabs (known as “Palestinians” for unknown reasons) are continuously exploited by their own leaders. They need someone to blame and will ignore all historical perspective to continue their bias.
    The BDS movement knows they shouldn’t bother attacking the PLO or the PNA. What would be the point. Yassir Arafat was worth over $1.5 billion when he died. Mahmoud Abbas has almost $200 million personally. The Hamas leaders in Gaza have gone past the greed of money and enveloped themselves in fanatical Islam. The fighting between Fatah and Hamas killed many more “Palestinians” than the war in Gaza last summer. The unfortunate people stuck in the middle are Muslim and therefore it is easy to fuel their drive for intifada. Their schools are awful and Israel is an easy target to blame. If only they had an opportunity for education, they would learn Israel has done more for them than any of their megalomaniacal leaders. Israel wants peace and for everyone to prosper together. OSUdivest does not want to talk about this because it would show their own dysfunction.
    Israel has been forced into an unfortunate stance of aggressive defense. The Arabs living in Israel need help. Help in the form of education and religious reform. Once they are no longer pawns of their leadership, they will be welcomed by the international community (along with Israel) with open arms. But while their leaders promote greedily violent extremists…they will make all those around them suffer.
    It is very sad.
    OSUdivest wants to wave their hands in the air screaming Israel is a horrible abuser of human rights, but we all know it is only a cover for their impotence at not being able to really do anything helpful. Someday they might actual try to do something that will make a difference. I have hope for the members of OSUdivest. And Arabs everywhere.”

  12. I liked this, so here it is:

    “OSUdivest does not care about historical perspective. They see a thriving nation like Israel, with many intelligent, innovative people working toward the betterment of mankind, while a poor group or Arabs (known as “Palestinians” for unknown reasons) are continuously exploited by their own leaders. They need someone to blame and will ignore all historical perspective to continue their bias.
    The BDS movement knows they shouldn’t bother attacking the PLO or the PNA. What would be the point. Yassir Arafat was worth over $1.5 billion when he died. Mahmoud Abbas has almost $200 million personally. The Hamas leaders in Gaza have gone past the greed of money and enveloped themselves in fanatical Islam. The fighting between Fatah and Hamas killed many more “Palestinians” than the war in Gaza last summer. The unfortunate people stuck in the middle are Muslim and therefore it is easy to fuel their drive for intifada. Their schools are awful and Israel is an easy target to blame. If only they had an opportunity for education, they would learn Israel has done more for them than any of their megalomaniacal leaders. Israel wants peace and for everyone to prosper together. OSUdivest does not want to talk about this because it would show their own dysfunction.
    Israel has been forced into an unfortunate stance of aggressive defense. The Arabs living in Israel need help. Help in the form of education and religious reform. Once they are no longer pawns of their leadership, they will be welcomed by the international community (along with Israel) with open arms. But while their leaders promote greedily violent extremists…they will make all those around them suffer.
    It is very sad.
    OSUdivest wants to wave their hands in the air screaming Israel is a horrible abuser of human rights, but we all know it is only a cover for their impotence at not being able to really do anything helpful. Someday they might actual try to do something that will make a difference. I have hope for the members of OSUdivest. And Arabs everywhere.”

  13. OSUDivest and Hamas

    Apparently one of the members on the exec comte at OSU Divest is being investigated for ties to Hamas.

  14. This piece is a disappointing opinion. It’s just that an opinion. I don’t see any real reasons to vote no coming out of this piece other than accusations of propaganda. It’s ironic that you claim the core values of Ohio state are related to diversity; yet you write from the perspective of two ideological groups with a vested interest in Israel. This is just what it appears to be, two formerly promising rising stars in public service turned career politicians, trying to get their name out there. Take a step back and ask yourself who and what you are and come back with a meaningful argument. While you’re at, find someone who isn’t republican or Jewish to support you, for diversity of course.

  15. Great article. OSU should not be a proponent for divestment at all. It’ll only hurt the reputation of this university and do nothing to actually help the world.

    Pro Palestinians are welcome to their view but are more biased than anyone in the world and radical. If you feel so oppressed go over and fight and try to make it better stop bitching.

    Divestment is bad for OSU. Plain and simple.

  16. The title of this letter seems to be blatantly false: “Vote no on proposal to end ties with companies that do business with Israel.” The letter itself repeats this assertion: “[students are being asked to break] financial ties with companies that do business with the nation of Israel”

    This initiative only seems to impact six companies that are directly dealing with the Israeli military. OSU Divest’s website (osudivest.com) specifically talks about each company’s direct ties to the military. There is no discussion at all of ties to the Israeli people, or Israeli firms, or even to non-military related government services. Saying that people who don’t want to have their money fund organizations aiding military operations are being discriminatory or intolerant is honestly insulting.

    Lying about what the proposal does and then accusing the other side of “propaganda” is extremely hypocritical.

  17. Does a democratic agnostic help? This bill impacts thousands of students regardless of their affiliation with these companies or political ideologies. The reputation of the engineering school is founded on very important civilian research that is funded by divisions of these corporations. Removal of that funding would undoubtedly drive professors away and thus drop the prestige and recognition of a college that has been on the rise recently. This would harm students in the College of Engineering (and Fisher for that matter) by impacting the quality of our education, availability of research, and ultimately credibility in the job hunt.

  18. As soon as these companies respect human rights, they’ll be allowed to do business with OSU again. One doesn’t boycott indefinitely. Furthermore, none of these companies have a monopoly on their services. We can easily find replacements (it’s called the market ).

    -an OSU engineering alumnus that cares for human rights

  19. That’s fine and dandy. We’ll let you go ahead and tell all of the contractors doing construction here that they can no longer use their equipment. You can also tell all of the graduating engineers going into a job at one of those companies (myself included) how it’s okay that they’ll have to re-start their job search this close to graduation. It’s a lot easier to not worry about the financial repercussions of a decision when it no longer applies to you directly. I don’t like what Israel is doing either, but I can say with a fair amount of certainty that pissing off 5 companies and several members of our board of trustees isn’t going to accomplish what you think it will.

    -A graduating OSU engineering senior who also cares for human rights

  20. The proposal is laughable and quite frankly reeks of antisemitic sentiment. As someone already mentioned, this could be a slippery slope.

  21. Concerned Alum420

    Nothing against Mr. Kamrass, but it may be worth noting that Mr. Stepp has attended at least one AIPAC event. Trying to claim that this letter is written by two “opposing viewpoints” is like trying to tell me that Jamaal Berry did not beat up a student outside of park street 3-4 years ago.

    Furthermore, last time I checked, this was the United States of America, not the United states of Israel. Why do we continue to blindly support them for any reason other than the religious fanaticism of having the Jewish population occupy Jerusalem?

    From what I understand, once the chosen people are in Jerusalem, they will be converted to Christianity and after which is the end of days. Personally I would like to avoid the end of days for as long as possible.

  22. There are going to be a lot of upset hipsters promoting this BS issue on the morning of March 12th. These companies are not anti humanitarians, they do business with Israel, the last democratic free state in the Middle East. This issue is anti Semitic and attacks this country based on religion. Not only is this is a blatant proposition of racism, it also has harsh consequences for the business and engineering schoosl. What’s going to happen when these companies who fund and donate to Fisher have their association severed and Fisher can’t afford to pay their professors who are the reason why the school is rising in the rankings? These professors will leave and go elsewhere. The rankings will drop. Our degree value will decrease. The people supporting this movement are the same ones who are part of the ever growing youth movement that believes everything that is spoken to them and are completely misguided.

  23. I find this article to be problematic. In the first paragraph of their letter, Mr. Kamrass and Mr. Stepp claim that this referendum item calls for OSU to divest from companies that conduct business with Israel. If you’re going to ask people to vote no, at least have your facts correct. The referendum item recommends for OSU to divest from 6 specific companies that aid and/or profit from direct human rights abuses in Palestine. Since when do we conflate criticisms with a government with propaganda? This letter purports that we uphold the status quo even though as students we have the opportunity to make a statement and change that. Elections start this coming Monday and I recommend everyone educate themselves on the every aspects of the issue in order to make an informed decision.

  24. Concerned Student

    You are 100% correct on that we need to educate ourselves.

    BDS is bad for the Palestinian economy. That is a fact. Their boycott efforts caused the Israeli company SodaStream to need to factory to close in the West Bank (the largest private employer of Palestinians) to close. All the Palestinians will lose their jobs and healthcare coverage. Nice job BDS! The last stat I read in 2014 is that 1 in 6 Palestinians are unemployed.

    BDS is also harmful to the Palestinian economy, which is quite reliant on Israel. I’d invite anyone with an open mind to read this article and especially look at the numbers. It’s an opinion piece, but the stats don’t lie (neither do the polls done from The Palestinian Authority – the Palestinian government in the West Bank)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/carriesheffield/2015/02/22/boycott-israel-movement-stunts-the-palestinian-economy/

    Want to make meaningful change in the Middle East and make lives better for the Palestinian people, stop boycotting the economy they rely on. How about instead of DIVESTING from Israel, you INVEST in Palestine? Help Palestinians start businesses and spur innovation in the Palestinian territories. Terrorism will decline, job growth will rise, tax revenues will increase and the PLA (West Bank government) will be able to invest in education and infrastructure. But that makes too much sense, doesn’t it? It’s easier to point fingers and hold morality votes than to solve anything.

    Vote NO on issue one if you think OSU students shouldn’t suffer from this bad piece of legislation that harms Ohio State and the Middle East peace process.

  25. Current Student

    Is anyone actually surprised that Taylor Stepp wrote this? Receiving a scholarship from ODI does not make you qualified to speak about diversity and inclusion, and this letter proves that. Perhaps you should place your political aspirations on hold as you learn how to craft a logical argument.

  26. My problem with OSU Divest is that they aren’t taking things quite far enough. Shouldn’t they be boycotting all Israeli-made/developed products? How hypocritical that they use desktops, laptops or tablets – (almost) all of which contain Intel or Celeron processor chips designed in Israel! Is a BDS Facebook page, which has many Israeli developed built-in apps, not supporting human rights violations? Although it sure is convenient to ccruise the internet when I don’t have WiFi, I am pledging to downgrade from my 4G equipped iPhone to a 2006 Motorola Razr, so as to not support Israeli developed 4G chipsets. I sincerely hope that everyone will follow me in completely divesting in Israeli-developed products.

  27. @The No Campaign

    This article convinces no one — not anyone on the fence, at least. I found the videos of an Israeli gunboat blowing Palestinian kids to pieces a bit more convincing.

    Go tell AIPAC they can keep their blood money.

  28. Everyone knows this will fail. OSUdivest is just a loose group of huffy losers who get together to blow hot air in between blowing each other. The comparisons they make are laughable. Their “facts” are blatant lies. They know Palestinians won’t benefit from things like this, but they can’t find another cause that will accept them. The BDS movement just has extremely low standards. If you are ever unfortunate enough to speak with, I would suggest swallowing your toungue before your brain strokes out from trying to comprehend the moronic rhetoric. It’s a shame they can’t do something more worthwhile with their time. Like making grass skirts. Or chasing squirrels.
    Not that this article was well done either.

  29. Didn’t Stepp take a trip to Israel paid by Israel…or am I forgetting?

  30. No that was State Rep. Niraj Antani.

  31. Vote no

  32. This is the first I have heard of this proposal, and I have some questions. Is this something the students are only giving an opinion on or does its outcome have some actual consequence? How many students usually vote during USG elections? Does anyone think the BOT cares what students think when it comes to awarding contracts?

  33. OSU Alumni and Donor

    I am entertained by supporters of BDS who are here complaining of the one-side argument in this letter. Well…having read their letter, it too seems one-sided. Can we say hypocrisy? With that said…VOTE NO! BDS is bad for Palistinians, Abbas himself says so. BDS is a hate filled organization that has used threats of violence and intimidation to suppress votes to to get their way. There are direct ties to Hamas, a known terrorist organization who’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel…not peace. Why and how can anyone in there right mind agree to support an organization that promotes the total destruction of an entire country and its people? To support BDS…you support terrorism, bigotry, hatred and genocide. BDS propaganda machine covers up the actions and true motivations…it all smoke and mirrors folks. These people have plenty of blood on their hands and their modern tactics appeal to the misinformed. VOTE NO!

  34. Dear @The No Campaign. Way to incite blood libel, one of the oldest and most used forms of antisemitism, look it up. It’s classic, really.

    But yeah, BDS has nothing to do with antisemitism 🙂

  35. @OSU Alumni and Donor

    You’re so close! I agree, but keep in mind Hamas has destruction of JEWS not Israel in their contract.

    But they’re innocent liberal freedom fighters, amirite?

  36. So I really didnt know anything about this issue until I saw these opinion articles, and i went ahead and did some research. First, OSUDivest is asking to divest from CERTAIN companies that are directly profiting from the military occupation in the West Bank. That occupation is illegal according to international law (i just saw the un resolutions) so the comments about them wanting us to get rid of our computers and stuff is just stupid.
    second, someone said that BDS is sponsored by hamas? i went to as many websites i could find, both pro-palestinian and pro-israeli, and all the articles seem to say the exact opposite. hamas is against BDS because they only believe in armed struggle (terrorism). The Palestinian government headed by abbas are not for or against BDS, but the majority of palestinians both in and out of the territories are supportive of it (except gaza, they think its a joke).
    To be completely honest, i dont really care about this stuff but from what i can tell, there are definitely some major human rights violations happening there. and since Israel is the defacto power, it seems to me that it is their responsibility. The jewish people need a home, and im glad the world gave them Israel, but what is happening to the palestinians definitely isnt right. I mean, if someone kicked me out of my house, id probably be pissed too.

    again, i dont know all the facts, but this seems pretty obvious to me.

  37. Remember to like the Protect OSU facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOSU

    We can’t make this mistake of divesting from important companies that support OSU again. Ohio State did that before, back in the 1980s, and it hurt us. It prevented OSU from having potentially lucrative business opportunities that would help bring about a better school and a better campus.

    Vote NO on Issue 1 on March 13th! Like our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOSU

  38. I’m voting no cause the BDS people are insane.

  39. Lol anyone who thinks BDS is anti-Semitic is an absolute moron. God our generation cannot recognize nuance whatsoever.

  40. Is this even going on the ballot?

  41. As an OSU grad (2004), I’m embarrassed this has even reached voting status. This movement has brought a black eye to other schools because of the lunacy of the concept.

    Of course vote no. What’s next Shariah law?

  42. Taylor is super diverse when it comes to helping his friends. He and the Pakistani Students Association president were buddy buddy so Taylor gave them $3000 of funding from USG just as a hand out, whilst trying to deny the Palestinian group money for their event.

  43. “The two authors of this letter have very different backgrounds. One of us is Christian, the other is Jewish. One of us is a Republican, the other is a Democrat. One of us grew up in a small town in Southeast Ohio, and the other grew up in Cincinnati. But we do have some things in common: we’re both in favor of OSU money funding the murder, imprisonment, torture and dispossession of stateless, occupied people. We understand some people think that human rights are non-negotiable, but the situation is complicated. Palestinian OSU students whose families and friends live under the occupation should find a less one-sided way of insisting that their lives matter.”

    (may not be a verbatim quote)

  44. Islam is indeed a crime against humanity, and its first victims are Muslims. I think that is why Muslims are so quick and ready to assume victimhood. On a subconscious level, they feel victimized, but in their search for the cause of their discomfort they incorrectly identify colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism, and so forth as the cause.
    For a Muslim to face up to the reality of Islam and to admit to oneself that Islam is the problem means to lose one’s identity. Hence the cognitive dissonance Muslims experience when Islam is called into question. Hence the scrambling for excuses and explanations that can convince the Muslims themselves that Islam is not the problem. And the explanations tend to be colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism, and so forth.
    When cultural Muslims refer to spurious arguments by Islamic apologists as a counterargument to brush aside direct quotes from the Qur’an and the hadiths, it is not that they are deliberately trying to deceive the non-Muslims. They are desperately clinging to the hope that Islam is not the problem. When they repeat the talking points of Islamic apologists explaining how Islam is a religion of peace, their primary aim is to convince (delude) themselves and make the cognitive dissonance go away at least momentarily, which then removes the immediate threat to their identity and postpones the inevitable confrontation.

  45. As Nikolai Sennels said, a Muslim never sees himself as the cause of his own actions. It is all external reality and everything is the will of Allah or the fault of the Big Bad Infidel. Hence the eternal victimhood status, the rage, the search for external culprits, hence the jihad. You can’t expect anything else from people who are incapable of taking a long hard look at themselves and who have been told since the cradle that this look is only reserved for the infidels.

  46. The majority of people involved in the BDS movement have good intentions. I have no doubt about that. Their logic is straightforward. There is a group of people living under terrible conditions in an occupied territory, and we should help those people out by causing economic damage to the occupier until the occupier withdraws. In a world where we have limited power to affect to change to help people who are hurting this seems like a reasonable approach. But there are problems with this strategy.
    Many people have accused BDS of being anti-semitic. BDS supporters retort that they are just trying to help people oppressed by a Jewish state, and their problem isn’t with the religion of Judaism but rather Jewish Zionists who value the security of Israel over the basic human rights of their neighbors. The problem with that answer is that Israel is far from the worst abuser of human rights in the world, and that we are perfectly willing to do business with other countries who are far worse abusers. The “we have to start somewhere” argument would be valid if you started with the worst abusers first. I understand that Israel is an attractive target because they’re a democracy with an open media so that the abuses that exist (and they do) are more visible and there’s potential to affect change because the people who live there can vote for their leadership. But the decision to single out Israel has an anti-semitic bite to it when you choose to boycott them first and willfully ignore non-Jewish human rights abusers.
    BDS is also a poorly targeted approach. At some point in the history of the movement, there was relatively broad Jewish support for targeted boycotts. Those boycotts were against products from expanded West Bank settlements that many Israelis blamed for unnecessarily inflaming tensions between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors in the West Bank. That boycott made sense. It discouraged a very specific action rather than unfairly targeting a broad group of people. BDS in its current form makes no such distinction. It attacks all Israelis and can count the Palestinians who work for Israeli companies among the victims of its collateral damage.
    The other big question to address is who is ultimately responsible for the current situation of the Palestinians in Gaza? Israel takes an approach of aggressive defense that undoubtedly results in the deaths of many Palestinian innocents and often makes the already substandard living conditions in Gaza even worse. Palestinian leadership embezzles aid funding and building supplies for use in war (those tunnels aren’t cheap), stores and fires weapons in schools and hospitals, and uses human shields. When they fire rockets randomly into Israeli territory, they expect return of fire and civilian casualties. Israel could stop firing back and watch as its citizens run into bomb shelters or get killed randomly in the streets. Most people would agree that’s not a great option. Hamas could stop antagonizing. Whether that would result in peace or another more aggressive group of self-proclaimed freedom fighters rising to power is not for me to say. What is clear is that Palestinian leadership and their supporters in the rest of the Arab world (and let me be very clear in saying that not all of the Arab world supports Palestinian leadership by a long shot) do not have the best interest of the Palestinian people in mind. It is beneficial for certain people to force Israel to deal with the Palestinians. As we have seen, this does not do great things for Israel’s international reputation.
    I was in Israel this past summer during the most recent conflict. I watched F-16s fly overhead on their way to bomb Gaza. I listened as my birthright sponsored trip brought in a speaker to tell us that our Muslim friends secretly wished they could kill us. But I also noticed how the Israelis genuinely feel badly for their Palestinian neighbors. How they were scared because their friends were on the front lines. How they wish they didn’t have to fight to keep the skies clear of raining missiles. Nobody is innocent in this conflict, and it won’t end until both sides can simultaneously govern themselves independently and not feel the need to attack their neighbors. I know that’s a lofty goal.
    In the meantime, Ohio State has no business officially sanctioning a movement as poorly crafted as BDS. The situation for Palestinians will not improve by targeting GE or Caterpillar. It will improve when Hamas is held accountable for building schools and roads rather than more building tunnels and killing Israelis. It will improve when rockets stop flying out of Gaza for long enough for Israelis to feel comfortable getting rid of war hawks like Netanyahu. Remove the political drive for aggressive security in Israel by showing that you are more interested in living peaceful next to her than wiping her off the map. Israelis really do want peace and their democracy will allow them to support peace if you let them.
    To my Jewish friends, please stop pretending to be bewildered about who these so called “Palestinians” are. You know who they are. I know the word has been reappropriated. That argument is really not helpful to anyone. I would also ask you to consider your biases. We’ve grown up being taught that Israel is an amazing wonderful place, and many of us have traveled there and seen that for ourselves. But don’t let that stop you from considering whether the actions Israel’s leaders are morally justifiable and don’t automatically assume that because Israel made a decision it must be the right one. Blind support of Israel is just as problematic and ignorant as poorly targeted hate against it. You don’t win battles by creating more enemies.

  47. Thomas Galloway

    I am voting no on Issue 1 cause the BDS people seem like they’re hiding something.

  48. I wanna know all these white people were duped into having a knee jerk reaction when anything israel related is discussed… Genocide on your watch buddy …

  49. Holy Lord, the hypocrisy in this article wreaks.

    “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is incredibly complex, and OSU provides a wonderful setting to study and debate the conflict in an intellectually honest manner. Unfortunately, this ballot proposal does just the opposite. It is one-sided propaganda written by an outside national group who systemically spreads its extreme views from campus to campus in a similar fashion”

    One-sided propaganda piece, eh? And what about this whole piece? And the claim that CURRENT OSU STUDENTS are an “outside national group” is horrendously despicable.

    People, is it so “incredibly complex” to say that killing children is wrong? Making entire families homeless is wrong? Forcing millions to be neither citizens in their land, nor allowing them to have any self-determination in an independent state? Keeping million and a half million people walled in and in desperate poverty? Shooting fishermen in the waters? Shooting farmers on their land? Is it so racist, so “anti-semitic” as you say, to claim that such practices should never be condoned or supported by any people that considers itself possessing ethical and moral standards?

    If so, then why do you so staunchly reject this resolution? Is it that these men, women, children, and families are not “Christian” or “Jewish?”
    Voting no is supporting unmitigated greed for money and profits over defending humanity.

  50. Hani, Riddle me this>>
    ++

    “Why is it Muslims are free to violently conquer lands anywhere and everywhere without a word of protest from American Muslims, or any Muslims or any liberals?
    But if Jews have a legally established homeland Muslims and Liberals and their ilk will never stop protesting against it? Why is this do you suppose? What explanation can be given other than as the Qur’an states repeatedly that Islam’s goal is to establish a worldwide caliphate in which all non-Muslims are subjugated.
    For instance, Mohammed was born around 571 AD thousands and thousands of years after Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism existed. But within a few centuries of Mohammed’s birth Islam had violently conquered vast sections of Asia, all of North Africa and smaller sections of Southern Europe.
    Now Muslims tell us that all this land belongs to them even though, for instance, in Afghanistan they killed every last Buddhist who once lived there. According to Muslim logic per Israel shouldn’t this land belong to the Buddhists?
    Or in North Africa all the Berbers have been forcibly converted to Islam or have been killed and now we’re told all this vast landmass belongs to Islam. That’s interesting, if not completely hypocritical.
    And what about Southern Thailand. Did anyone know that in the last several years something like 5,000 Buddhists have been killed by Muslims because, or so we’re told, the land the Buddhists are on belongs to Islam.
    And Southern Russia? Muslims are relentlessly waging a slow reign of terror in Russia because, you guessed it, Russians are treating Muslims poorly and they should give up the Southern section of that country to Muslims since Islam deserves all lands.
    Or, let’s take Sudan as another example. How many millions have been killed in Sudan? How many babies and children have starved in Sudan while Islamists steal the food from aid compounds? How many women have Muslims gang-raped in Sudan all because that land belongs to Muslims and only Muslims. All other people can go somewhere else to live, I guess. They can go to South Sudan, but wait a minute, now Muslims are killing the people of South Sudan too.
    And Kashmir? The same. Despite Hindus having lived there for 3,000 years – something like 2,000+ years before Mohammed was born – Muslims tell us Kashmir belongs to them. Amazing logic isn’t it? Muslim logic, I guess.
    And that brings us to Israel. Israel also belongs to Islam too. Did you know that? It’s true. Just ask a Muslim or a liberal if you prefer. Even though it’s no bigger than a small pimple on the caliphate’s ass it is still their land and they will fight to the death to prove their point.
    Doesn’t the logic here make a lot of sense. Isn’t it as clear as day? Of course it does. The world belongs to Islam and we’re mere players on their stage.

  51. Guess what? I am going to spend another $500 on sporting ammunition made by IMI (Israel Military Industries) to show my support for IDF.

  52. How about you cut the umbilical cord and move on?
    But, thanks for reminding me what an unmitigated tool you are.

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