By: Zoe Hoekstra

University of Pennsylvania students are demanding that their administration divest from companies and terminate business contracts with companies that support Israel, accusing the country of “settler colonialism” and “illegal occupation” of Palestine.

According to a May 19 statement released by the student group Penn Against the Occupation (PAO), students are demanding the school publicly acknowledge Israel’s “unlawful” use of force, “reject the normalization of the occupation,” and “terminate business contracts with companies that support Israel.”

The petition has garnered more than 337 signatures including Penn student organizations, Philadelphia-based organizations, Penn students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Notable signers include the Jewish Voice for Peace Philadelphia, Drexel Students for Justice in Palestine, and PA state Rep. Rick Krajewski.

Rising College and Wharton junior and Penn Hillel Co-President Avidan Baral, a Penn Hillel Co-President, chose to refrain from signing the statement. “We are disappointed in the statement’s choice of language, which we deem as not only false, but also using inflammatory language,” Baral said to the Daily Pennsylvanian. “We’ve seen in the past how this can embolden people to become violent.”

This resolution ostracizes Jewish students on campus, and promotes a false narrative surrounding Hamas and Palestine. The university should take a bold stand against these anti-Semitic attacks and refuse to bow to the leftist mob.

Zoe Hoekstra is a William & Berniece Grewcock Intern Scholar at Young America’s Foundation this summer.