University of Illinois Students Band Together Against BDS
Over the course of the past several years, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been a hotbed for the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) Movement. Recently, a coalition of fifteen student organizations has been attempting to pressure the school's Board of Trustees of to divest from all business with ties to the State of Israel.
One student group has been determined to reverse this ugly trend and stop the BDS Movement in it's tracks. IlliniPAC, the Pro-Israel student group, rolled out a campaign titled “United Illini for a United Campus”. The group's co-President, Elan Karoll, explained the campaign's mission as an attempt to “expose the true hateful nature” of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and “counteract its divisive nature”.
There is no doubt that the rhetoric being used to talk about Israel is decisive, to say the least. BDS supporters at UIUC have referred to Zionists as "murderers" and accused Israel of committing "genocide" and clinging onto a "birthright" that has been "built on empty religious rhetoric".
Despite the attacks, the campus' community has quickly mobilized to support IlliniPAC. In a video posted to Facebook titled, "Vote NO to divestment", students from across all segments of society express their reasons for voting against the proposed BDS resolution, and called on others to do the same.
Among the co-sponsors of the BDS resolution are: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP); Black Students for Revolution; Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA); Campus Union for Trans Equality and Support (CUTES); UIUC Beyond Coal; United Muslim Minority Advocates; Gharbzadegi Art Collective; Mixed Student Union; Students for an Arab Cultural Center; Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation–Central Illinois; Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC); Graduate Employees Organization (GEO); Arab Student Association; Illini Progressives; and Students Against Sexual Assault