Obama's alma mater, Occidental College, capitulates to anti-Israel protesters, will considering divesting from Israel-linked companies

 May 9, 2024

Occidental College in California, an alma mater of former President Barack Obama, just capitulated to the demands of leftist anti-Israel student groups that have been protesting on campus against the Jewish nation for more than a week.

The school's president announced an agreement reached with the protesters that would accede to most of their demands in exchange for an end to an illegal encampment and future disruptive protest plans, Breitbart reported.

That includes the school's board considering divestment from certain companies that do business with the Israeli military -- though doing so could run afoul of a California law that prohibits discriminatory boycotts against Israel and other sovereign nations.

Capitulation announced

The college's newspaper, The Occidental, reported Tuesday that Occidental President Harry Elam Jr. revealed in a college-wide email that his administration had reached a deal with the two main groups behind the campus encampment -- the Occidental chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP).

As part of the deal, the Board of Trustees Investment Committee will hold a special session on May 13 to consider protesters' demands for divestment from specific companies that do business with the Israeli Defense Force -- Boeing, Caterpillar, Elbit, and Lockheed Martin -- followed by a vote on divestment by the full Board at its next meeting in June.

The school also agreed to extend full amnesty to all students and faculty who participated in the protests and encampment on the Academic Quad. The only major demand of the protesters that was not met was for the college to formally declare Israeli military actions in Gaza a "genocide" and to call for a ceasefire.

In exchange, the SJP and JVP agreed to end their illegal encampment no later than May 10 and to not disrupt the school's May 19 graduation ceremony with protests. Notably, the amnesty promise will be rescinded for any student or faculty protesters who disregard those two terms.

Anti-Israel protest groups declare victory

The college outlet reported that the SJP declared victory in an Instagram post that said, "After 8 days of camping, we won! However, divestment still hangs in the balance and our work is far from over. Please stay tuned for further updates over the summer."

Yet, even as the protesters celebrated their win, the post still called out the "cowardly President's Office" for its refusal to "recognize the ongoing genocide in Palestine."

The post further highlighted "what was gained" through the negotiated agreement and detailed some of what would happen in the immediate future -- though it also seemed to subtly indicate that additional actions could be in the works post-encampment.

Divestment could violate California's anti-BDS law

Breitbart observed that on top of Occidental's administration capitulating to most of the anti-Israel demands of the protesters, the college may violate a California law against discriminatory boycotts if it follows through and divests from the Israel-linked companies targeted by the protesters.

Passed in 2016 in opposition to the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, that typically targets Israel, the state law prohibits any taxpayer funds to support entities that violate the state's civil rights and fair housing and employment acts with discriminatory policies toward "any sovereign nation" recognized by the U.S. government, specifically including Israel.

California is certainly not alone in opposing the targeted anti-Israel actions, as Newsweek reported in 2021 that it was just one of at least 35 states at that time that had passed an anti-BDS law, non-binding resolution, or executive order to specifically prohibit doing business with companies or entities engaged in discrimination against Israel or other nations.

As for Occidental's promised "amnesty" for the antisemitic protesters, that is a slap in the face for the Jewish and pro-Israel students and faculty who have been bullied, harassed, threatened, and made to feel unsafe and unwelcome on campus by those same protesters who will now dodge accountability for their actions.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.