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U of Illinois student government passes resolution supporting Israel boycott

(JTA) — The student government at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign voted to adopt a resolution that supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The 20-9 vote in favor early Thursday morning followed a five-hour meeting of the University of Illinois Student Government, the Illini Hillel at the Cohen Center for Jewish Life said in a Facebook post. There were seven abstentions.

The resolution, which had 22 sponsors, calls on the university to divest from “companies that profit from human-rights violations in Palestine and other communities globally.” It names three companies that do business in Israel: Raytheon, Elbit Systems Ltd. and Northrup Grumman.

An amendment removing references to Israel lost in a 22-11 vote with six abstentions.

The university released a statement following the vote noting that the resolution was nonbinding and had no plans to act on it.

“We are committed to dialogue and to supporting students as they navigate challenging conversations about diversity and inclusion,” the statement said, “and we will continue to plan programming designed to build understanding of different perspectives on complex and divisive issues.”

More than 30 students spoke out against the bill in public comments.

Two similar resolutions failed in 2017 and 2018.

In October, the student government passed a resolution that distinguishes anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism.