Yale Student Government Condemns Israel for 'Genocide'

Yale College Council accuses Jewish state of human rights violations

The view across Hewitt Quadrangle of Commons, Yale University / Facebook
June 28, 2021

The Yale College Council on Sunday adopted a resolution condemning Israel for committing "human rights violations."

The student leaders passed the "Statement of Condemnation," a joint resolution with Yale's Middle Eastern and North African Cultural Center, Yalies 4 Palestine, and the Arab Students Association, after weeks of opposition from Jewish students. The measure denounces "injustice, genocide, and ethnic cleansing occurring in Palestine" and claims Israel is an "apartheid" state. 

"We stand against the discriminatory application of the law that strips Palestinians of basic rights," the statement reads. "We stand against the apartheid and the persecution of Palestinians, and stand for peace and the freedom of the Palestinian people from violent military occupation."

The measure comes a month and a half after Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched more than 4,000 rockets into Israel over an 11-day span. The resolution criticized the Israeli military's counterstrikes, which neutralized several Hamas weapons stores and leaders. The statement did not mention Hamas's assault.

Yale's student leaders urged peers to "recognize the connections between the [United States'] domestic racial oppression" and the "oppression" it commits by backing the Israeli military. 

"Just as Israel's military enforces the apartheid system against Palestinians, the U.S. police enforces the system of white supremacy against black Americans," according to the resolution. 

The Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, the university’s Hillel chapter, released a statement hours after the student government adopted the resoution. The Slifka Center said the council's measure contributed to creating an unsafe environment for Jewish students. 

"In May, the attention on Israel and on Jews as its perceived representatives led to open hostility on social media, vandalism of synagogues and of campus Hillels, such as Harvard's, even physical anti-Semitic attacks, such as those in New York, L.A., and London," the Slifka Center said. "Although much of this occurs far from Yale, the anxiety and fear is present nevertheless. [Yale College Council] has done nothing to address that anxiety, but your signing on is likely to exacerbate it." 

The Slifka Center declined to comment further on the Yale College Council's move. 

The resolution is the latest statement from students at U.S. universities to condemn Israel over the Hamas attacks. The University of Michigan's Central Student Government and the Undergraduate Student Government at the University of Chicago both used the recent conflict to endorse the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which seeks to punish Israel through economic measures.