Northwestern students petition to voice disagreement with divestment resolution

Olivia Exstrum, Campus Editor

An online petition against the passage of a Northwestern Divest-sponsored divestment resolution by Associated Student Government Senate in February had garnered nearly 550 signatures as of Tuesday evening.

Its creators maintain that currently there are no plans to use the petition for further action, and its purpose is instead to “make people feel better” about the outcome of last month’s vote.

The resolution, which passed with 24 votes for, 22 against and three abstentions, calls for the University to divest from six corporations its sponsors say are involved in the violation of Palestinians’ human rights in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The resolution also called on ASG to create investment transparency task force, which ASG began creating last week.

“By signing this petition, the Northwestern community stands in solidarity against the passage of this one-sided resolution,” the petition said. “We stand in support of self-determination for both peoples and we seek a just end to the conflict.”

McCormick senior Morris Zeitouni helped make the website that houses the petition and said it was created because many people were upset after the results of the Senate meeting.

“After it passed, there were people who were deeply involved in the Jewish and Israel community and had a hard time,” Zeitouni said. “My life is so rooted in Israel and it was such a shock to me because personally it hurt me a lot.”

Zeitouni said he is involved in NU Hillel and TAMID at Northwestern, an Israel investment group. However, he said, the petition is independent and not affiliated with a certain campus group. The petition was launched Feb. 20, a day after ASG passed the resolution.

Weinberg freshman Adam Shimer, who created the petition, said the “only unifying factor” of the document is that it is signed by people who feel the resolution does not reflect their own beliefs about divestment. He said he has no current plans to use the petition for any formal action.

“After ASG passed the resolution, I guess I felt that its passage wasn’t representative of a large portion of the Northwestern community,” he said. “Just because we don’t have plans right now doesn’t mean we won’t going forward. Right now we’re just focused on gathering signatures and support.”

Zeitouni said when the resolution passed, many people, including alumni and family members, reached out to him in concern.

“People wanted a public forum,” he said. “Here they could have their name up, say this is what my school passed and the majority of the Senate passed but this is what I individually feel.”

He said although other groups may want to leverage the petition to further a possible resolution in response to the divestment resolution, he doesn’t believe any tangible legislative change will come of it.

Communication sophomore Allison Kaminsky said she heard of the petition through NU Coalition for Peace. Kaminsky said she is unsure if the petition will have any impact because she doesn’t know the impact of the resolution itself.

“I signed the petition because I thought that the divestment campaign was biased against Israel and did not acknowledge that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the fault of both peoples and not just one people,” she said.

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