Editor’s note: The author serves as an Associate Justice on ASM’s Student Judiciary. He has recused himself on all cases regarding ASM’s repeated attempts to pass divestment resolutions and plans to do so in any future disputes.
Last school year, Associated Students of Madison’s student council became the college version of the Committee on Public Safety, the main political outlet for the French Revolution’s radicals. It demanded radical change, often with little thought and even less debate.
When the democratic process failed the council, and a pro-BDS divestment proposal was indefinitely tabled 13-12, it resorted to other means of passage. BDS refers to the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement that implores the international community to hold Israel accountable for the alleged injustices they inflict on Palestine.
Council attempted to resurrect a similar proposal during the Jewish holiday of Passover, only to again be stunted by ASM’s system of checks and balances. The student judiciary blocked passage and ordered Katrina Morrison to issue an apology to the Jewish community.
On the last Council meeting of the 2016-17 school year, pro-divestment representatives introduced amendments that effectively endorsed BDS movement against Israel in an otherwise relatively timid bill. On the backs of representatives too cowardly to vote no, it passed unanimously.
ASM unanimously approves contentious divestment proposal to mixed reactions from campusAfter five hours of debate and nearly 50 people appearing before open forum, the University of Wisconsin Associated Students of Read…
The passed resolution cited, among other sources, Veterans Today, a conspiracy theory website known for peddling both anti-Semitic and “9/11 Truth” propaganda. Pro-divestment representatives also openly enabled the heckling and harassing of the only Jewish member of council, who left the meeting in protest before the vote took place.
When she ran for chair, Morrison publicly denied that she was the defendant in any lawsuit on the council relating to divestment. She issued her court-mandated apology on Tuesday, and rightfully took responsibility in enabling a culture of anti-Semitism in last year’s student council.
New ASM chair apologizes to Jewish community for actions in previous sessionAfter a contentious previous session, Associated Students of Madison began its 24th session with Chair Katrina Morrison apologizing for holding a Read…
Anti-Semitism is quantifiably on the rise in many parts around the globe. Spikes have been reported on college campuses, as well as Canada. In 2016, anti-Semitic incidents spiked in the United Kingdom as well.
France is the premier example of anti-Semitism occurring in an otherwise progressive place. In France, Jews comprise less than one percent of the population, but are victims of more than half of hate crimes committed per year. The numbers have started to trend downward, thanks to rigorous security measures.
Still, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated to Israel in the past decade. Marine Le Pen, of the neo-fascist National Front Party, openly vowed to ban kosher food and yarmulkes in public and advanced to the runoff round in the 2017 French presidential election. Recent incidents, like reports of widespread discrimination in French schools and the robbery of a Jewish family (“You are Jews, you have money”), demonstrate that while the numbers are declining, the terror remains.
ASM leaders hope to improve working relationships, financial transparency in upcoming sessionAlthough the Associated Students of Madison didn’t get their current name until 1994, student governance at the University of Wisconsin has Read…
The American public has also gotten a good dose of what revived anti-Jewish discrimination looks like in the U.S. The 2016 election saw numerous journalists, both conservative and liberal, attacked on Twitter for their Judaism in a voluminous manner. The recent events in Charlottesville left a police department incapable of defending a local synagogue in the wake of “alt-right” protestors marching through the streets.
There is a constitutional right to express bigoted opinions, but that does not mean that society has to tolerate and legitimize them in an official capacity. ASM has taken the right step forward in condemning anti-Semitism, and Morrison was correct in complying with her court-mandated apology.
Looking forward, ASM should stick to bus passes and refrain from reifying old wounds.
Zach Urisman ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in finance.