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Op-Ed: GW student submission regarding SR-S18-21

student government


George Washington University


Op-Ed: GW student submission regarding SR-S18-21

Submission about SR-S18-21


The following is a submission from Shep Gerszberg, GW Sophomore, regarding SR-S18-21. This opinion does not reflect the views of The Rival. The Rival does not take a stance.

GW is not a real estate organization, but it acts like it. This joke made at the expense of GW is heard often on campus and especially on social media. But for all the talk about what GW isn’t, we forget what it is. GW is a college, a place to receive an education. And for that reason, I have another similar line to add to the list of things GW isn’t but sometimes acts like. GW is not a partisan political organization, but it sure acts like it sometimes.

This upcoming divestment bill represents the worst instincts of those with a political mindset, the instinct to inject politics into everything and to ignore the other side as “illegitimate” in doing so. GW is not a partisan political organization; it is not a political organization. The GW Student Association has no place making political decisions for the student body, it has no power to speak for the student body when it comes to complex geopolitical situations. For these reasons the GW SA cannot pass this bill.

The fact is that the situation on the ground is far more complex than this bill portrays it to be. Israel is not an apartheid state, that’s why the UN doesn’t consider them to be one as a matter of official policy, that’s why the Zionism is racism idea was repealed in the UN, both are based in complete falsehoods. Many South Africans find the comparison of Israel to apartheid South Africa offensive and wrongheaded.

If the situation was a matter of fact, if there was no complexity on the ground, if Israel was truly and indisputably in the wrong, maybe the SA would have the authority to pass some kind of judgement. But that simply isn’t the case, the situation is fraught with complexity, there is and continues to be real pain and suffering on both sides of the conflict. Israel is a state like any other, every state has issues and things that they work out, the question on a moral level is, do they try to fix it? For all the accusations that this bill lays at Israel’s feet, it doesn’t mention that Israel just released a self-audit of its actions during the Gaza engagement and found certain problematic elements, it then laid out ways for Israel to improve its rules of engagement and actions if something like the Gaza engagement happens again, and the IDF pledged to look into the audit and implement its reforms where possible.

Context is important. This resolution is deeply reductive and assigns guilt and blame to only one side. Because of this it is deeply counterproductive to constructive dialogue and because of this it is as divisive as it is. It would be irresponsible to pass this proposal because making partisan political statements on complex multi-faceted issues is not the role of the SA, nor is it the role of GW.

Anyone can see how this bill is affecting the campus in a negative way, it is divisive and deeply hurtful to a large portion of the student body. Because of that the SA has a responsibility to vote against this proposal because to do otherwise would be a betrayal of their responsibility to be the representatives of the entire student body. GW needs to stop acting like something it isn’t and start acting like something it is. GW isn’t a real estate organization, nor is it a political organization, it is a college, a place of learning, and places of learning should not make statements that are deeply intellectually dishonest, nor should they take stances on complex geopolitical issues. For these reasons and more, the SA must vote against this divestment bill.

GW needs to stop acting.

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