Of all the divestment failures for the BDS on college campuses, none has been as definitive as the thrashing it received at the University of Washington, where divestment lost by a vote of 59-8 (with 11 abstentions.)
That’s right – 87% of those who voted, voted against divestment.
How did pro-Israel students at the University of Washington rally such an impressive win? By setting aside ideological differences and working together.
“With BDS, many of us have different perspectives,” pro-Israel activist David Weingarten told Haaretz. “But, at the end of the day, we can all come together in the understanding that BDS is not something we can support as a means of supporting a two-state solution – and everyone is clearly for a two-state solution.”
Hillel Rabbi Oren Hayon said the activity was focused on students, with assistance from Hillel, AIPAC, StandWithUs, J Street U, and the Jewish Agency.
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“We had to assemble the broadest possible coalition that we could, from all along the political and ideological spectrum,” he said. “I wanted to find out what the breaking point of a coalition could be, and then take half a step back from that. To include as many different viewpoints as we could, while still maintaining the structural integrity of our group. “
If unity of purpose in the pro-Israel community could crush a BDS measure on the campus Rachel Corrie once called home, think of what it can do at a more neutral setting.
And if it helps Israel’s supporters set aside their differences and work together for the benefit of all, maybe the emergence of the BDS has a silver lining after all. If it challenges us all to remember what’s really important, BDS may, ironically, strengthen Israel until the BDS is soundly defeated.