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U Chicago Vote Fails to Retract Student Govt Call for ‘Free Palestine From the River to the Sea’

June 8, 2021
University of Chicago Vote Fails to Retract Student Government Call for ‘Free Palestine From the River to the Sea’
Written by Dion J. Pierre

University of Chicago Vote Fails to Retract Student Government Call for ‘Free Palestine From the River to the Sea’

A resolution by the College Council of the University of Chicago to retract a previous statement by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) calling for a “Palestine that is free … from the river to the sea” has failed, according to a report on Sunday by The Chicago Maroon.

The resolution — sponsored by student College Council member Julia Brestovitskiy and endorsed by student Jewish support groups including UChicago Hillel and UChicago JStreet — did not receive enough votes, even after Brestovitskiy removed its call for the USG to apologize to the school’s Jewish community.

Brestovitskiy reportedly removed the provision to give the resolution “greater institutional and legal basis.”

Because of a recently passed rule, the Maroon said, the vote count will not be made public.

On May 21, the Undergraduate Student Senate had issued a joint statement with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) declaring its “stand against the ideology of Zionism that has been used as a justification for the murder displacement and traumatization of the Palestinian people”

“From the river to the sea,” the statement said, “USG supports a Palestine that is free.”

The statement prompted a response from the university’s Hillel condemning the letter’s use of the “river to the sea” trope.

“It blatantly calls for the forced displacement of Jews from their homeland, and for the wholesale destruction of the world’s only Jewish state,” said the letter, which was joined by a number of Jewish groups on campus. “Its implications are clear: Jewish citizens living in the area from the river to the sea — including the State of Israel —  should cease to exist.”

Appearing to distance the university from the USG’s actions, in an email sent on June 1, University of Chicago Robert Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee Lee said the USG “does not have an institutional position on international conflicts.”

Read More: Algemeiner