Students gathered at Hillel workshop to discuss BDS bill, prepare statements for SGA meeting

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BDS is a global Palestinian-led campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to end what it describes as violations of international law. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

By Jason Glazer
For Mitzpeh
@Mitzpeh

Maryland Hillel hosted a writing workshop Tuesday night for students and faculty who want to speak against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill at the SGA meeting on Wednesday, April 24. The workshop began with discussions about each of the attendee’s opinions on the bill and allowed students to practice their speeches and identify problems they are going to address at the SGA meeting.

BDS is a movement whose goal it is to end support for Israel’s alleged oppression of Palestinians. It also puts economic and political pressure on Israel. The BDS bill would do this by boycotting the Israeli government.

Students at this university who attended the workshop were determined to not let this happen. From 4-9 p.m., people were able to stop in at Hillel at their own convenience to share their thoughts on the bill with other Jewish students and prepare what they are going to be saying at the SGA meeting.

Ben Rosenbaum, a sophomore history and secondary social studies major, sees the BDS bill as “toxic” and “divisive.” He said that while he’s happy the BDS bill is “starting a conversation,” it is doing so in a toxic way by making Jewish students feel unsafe and at risk.

Jenn Miller, a senior government and politics major, also had a lot to say about the BDS bill. She is a legislator at SGA and is very involved with Terps for Israel, so she strongly believes BDS is not the way to go and will be voting no on the bill.

Miller, who is planning on speaking at the SGA meeting, said she is very supportive of the opposition to the bill and is glad to see discussions being started and opinions being shared.

“BDS is not the way to go,” she said. “There is a strong coalition of students planning on speaking tomorrow hopeful that that they will be able to voice their concerns and who want to be as vocal as they can be.”

Noam Kaplan, a sophomore aerospace engineering major, thinks that this year’s bill was well-worded, but thinks boycotting companies is just a clear attempt to violate human rights.

“They’re harmful to the Jewish community. People don’t understand why Israel is important for Jews. Peace between Israel and Palestine is a very complicated issue with a lot of misunderstanding. Good people are getting hurt by it.”

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