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Jewish organizations on campus file petition to ASU administration to reject BDS

The petition calls on members of University administration, faculty and student leaders to attend one training session on antisemitism, the Holocaust, and life in Israel


ASU community members gather around speakers during a vigil on the Student Services Lawn in Tempe on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.  

Jewish organizations across the ASU community shared a petition condemning a recent Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) petition from student groups. They called on members of the ASU community to attend training sessions on antisemitism, the Holocaust and life in Israel.

The petition was shared on the Instagram account for ASU Hillel on Monday. It was endorsed by two Jewish greek life organizations, Alpha Epsilon Phi at ASU and Alpha Epsilon Pi at ASU. It was also supported by Chabad at ASU, Hillel Student Board at ASU, Olami at ASU, Sun Devils 4 Israel and TAMID Group at ASU. 

The petition says it condemns the student groups who promote BDS against Israel. BDS is a movement led by supporters of Palestine that calls for more pressure on Israel from major countries. 

The petition also says BDS leads to an increase in antisemitic incidents. The petition uses a study from AMCHA, which says antisemitic incidents increase by six to eight times at institutions with with "a BDS-promoting student group such as Students for Justice in Palestine or BDS-supporting faculty."  

An ASUPD spokesperson said there has not been an antisemitic incident on campus since the vandalism on the exterior of the Walter Cronkite School on Sept. 28 and swastikas were vandalised on two rooms occupied by Jewish students in Hassayampa Academic Village on Oct. 2. An ASUPD spokesperson said swastikas were etched under door placards of the student's names in that incident.

Read more: Four connected antisemitic symbols and statements found outside the Cronkite building

On Nov. 1, Students for Justice in Palestine at ASU announced it is delivering a petition to the Dean of Students calling for ASU to adopt BDS. It called on ASU to remove products manufactured in Israel from campus shelves, divest from companies that support Israel and end study abroad programs in Israel. Its petition followed the BDS movement's call to students to urgently organize and demand that their institutions and elected officials call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire one week earlier.

"Students for Justice in Palestine has a long history of supporting Jewish students and standing against anti-semitic organizations and attacks," Finn Howe, a junior studying computer science and the president of SJP at ASU, said.

SJP at ASU said in an Instagram post on Oct. 19 that it stands "completely against anti-Semitism, white supremacy, xenophobia, homophobia, and all other bigoted principles" in response to a partnership request from College Republicans United.

Read more: Student groups once again condemn CRU's campus visitor

ASU recently joined a coalition of universities, university groups and scholarship funds in support of Israel amid the conflict in Gaza. ASU endorsed a statement that said it stands with Israel and said the coalition is "horrified and sickened by the brutality and inhumanity of Hamas."

The petition shared by Hillel said that signing the petition means standing with Jewish students on campus.

"All peoples deserve to feel safe and welcome on campus," the petition said. "A BDS resolution will do the exact opposite."

Edited by Alysa Horton, Walker Smith and Angelina Steel.

Editor's note: An original version of this story referenced one antisemitic incident, but was updated at 6 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2023 after receiving updated information from ASUPD about another incident.

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Shane BrennanEditor-in-Chief

Shane Brennan is the Editor-in-Chief at The State Press. He was a sports and politics reporter, before becoming the editor of the politics desk. He has covered local and state politics for the Arizona Capitol Times and Cronkite News.

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