Opinion: ASUCD Passes BDS Bill—Students Are Overjoyed


By: Esma Mesihovic


DAVIS, CA – On Thursday February 15th, the ASUCD Senate voted yes on the Senate Bill #52. This is a historic change brought by the students of UC Davis in the ongoing fight for Palestinian rights and freedom. 


Every year, ASUCD is allocated 20 million dollars in funds. This bill states that none of that money can go to any companies or products that are complicit in Israel’s apartheid. Of course, this means no more Sabra hummus, SodaStream, and Starbucks.


On a larger scale, BDS is a Palestinian-led movement which stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, it urges for non-violent economic pressures to be taken on Israel. 


As listed on its main website, there are three main demands of the movement: ending occupation and colonization once and for all, recognizing fundamental rights of Palestinians who are continuously subjected to racial discrimination, and protecting the right of Palestinians to return to their homes. 


For over 75 years, Palestinians have been facing a brutal occupation which has displaced them from their homes, killed countless of their people, and prevented many from returning to their homeland. Even before 1948, Palestinians were already suffering at the hands of British administrators during the British Mandate who refused to treat Palestinian voices and concerns against illegal Jewish immigration as valid for influencing policies. 


Currently, Gaza in Palestine is facing one of the worst catastrophes the region has ever experienced. An ongoing genocide is being enacted by the Israeli Defense Forces—a genocide which has so far murdered over 28,000 innocent civilians, including more than 12,000 children. Over 68,000 have been wounded.


UC Davis has already witnessed several student protests in response to this genocide thanks to the active student organization Student Justice for Palestine. Over the past four months, SJP at UC Davis has been doing a remarkable job in educating and mobilizing students and other organizations on campus in their fight for Palestinian liberation and justice. The passing of Senate Bill #52 is just another milestone. 


It was a late evening and the Memorial Union coho was filled to the brim with countless students wearing Keffiyehs and holding up signs for Palestine. Student speakers from both sides had lined up to voice their support or concern for the bill.


It is unfortunate to say that many people on the opposition continued to refer to the catastrophe in Gaza as a “war” and continue claiming that the issue is “complicated.” If someone came to your house and forcibly kicked you out, would you call it a ‘complex’ problem that requires a PhD in geopolitics to solve? 


The speeches coming from Palestinians, however, were the most emotional and powerful to say the least.


There’s no doubt why they wouldn’t be. Some of these student speakers were descendants of Nakbah victims. Some of them have lost family members in the current genocide. 


Claps and cheers kept breaking out despite the rules against it. At the end of the meeting, the bill was passed with a vote of 12:1:1 and the whole room was in an uproar with students bouncing and hugging each other in joy. 


As an institution, the silence of UC Davis on the current genocide happening is deafening. But it’s nice to see the ASUCD body passing a bill that will bring some positive material change for the Palestinian cause. Davis is also the first UC campus to accomplish this. This is the direct result of many students on campus waking up to this important social justice issue and I hope other campuses take it as an example. 


Insha’Allah, Palestine will be free. 

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1 Comment

  1. Walter Shwe

    This is an excellent decision by UCD students to protest the ongoing genocide by Israel against peaceful Palestinian non-combatants and the United States complicity in those many thousands of killings. Palestinian civilians deserve their own sovereign state in light of this appalling genocide.

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