March 5, 2024

Cornell University graduate students recently voted to become members of a union well-known for their anti-Israel stance. 

On November 9, in a vote of 1,873 to 80, Cornell University Graduate Students United (CGSU) overwhelmingly voted to federate as Cornell Graduate Students United, a chapter of the United Electrical Workers union (UE).

UE has a long history of not supporting Israel, including opposing U.S. military aid to Israel, calling for an immediate cease-fire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

BDS is a pro-Palestinian movement that promotes boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against Israel.

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William A. Jacobson, a clinical professor at Cornell Law School who joined the faculty in 2007, called on the Cornell Board of Trustees to help Jewish students.  (Getty/FOX)

William Jacobson, founder of EqualProtect.org and a Cornell University Law Professor, told Fox News Digital that BDS is a plays a large role in antisemitism’s recent rise.

“The BDS movement’s gross dehumanization of Israeli Jews is a prime vehicle giving rise to antisemitism. The reclaiming of the land of Israel by the indigenous Jewish people is the greatest decolonization story of modern times, and had it been any other people, Israel would be celebrated,” Jacobson said. “We cannot allow the union to bring these noxious BDS policies onto campus.”

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Jacobson noted that Cornell University’s administration had previously “steadfastly” rejected calls to boycott Israel and has partnered with The Technion of Israel, a top research university in both Israel and the Middle East.

“The Cornell Graduate Student bargaining unit’s affiliation with the United Electrical workers union creates grave concerns because the UE has endorsed the boycott of Israel,” Jacobson said. “Cornell University steadfastly has rejected boycott calls, and even has a partnership with The Technion of Israel at the Cornell Tech campus in NYC. The anti-Israel activists should not be permitted to get in through the union back door what they have been unable to get in through the front door.”

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Cornell University graduate students voted to join the United Electrical Workers union. (United Electrical Workers Union)

Jacobson said that this is not the first attempt to oppose the university’s partnership with the Israel-based university, but that it is paramount that the Ivy League university’s graduate student union does not “interfere” with Cornell’s relationship with the Technion of Israel.  

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“The attempts to disrupt the Cornell-Technion Tech Campus relationship have been ongoing for many years, and continue with an event scheduled later this month. Since the Tech Campus is a shining star on Cornell’s horizon, it is critical that the union’s political objectives not interfere with the university’s educational mission,” Jacobson said.

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Students outside Goldwin Smith Hall at the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, US, on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.  ( Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Cornell Law Professor called on the administration to publicly oppose BDS and oppose “any union effort to inject BDS” into campus life.

“The Cornell administration needs to publicly reiterate its opposition to BDS, and commit to opposing any union effort to inject BDS into the Cornell system either openly or surreptitiously,” Jacobson said.

The university has “left itself open” to BDS-influence by providing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programming on campus in student groups, Jacobson said.

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“Cornell has left itself open to BDS agitation by pushing group-identity DEI programming using a racial lens, leaving Jews on the sideline,” Jacobson said. “Student groups are promoting anti-Israel activism around race. Cornell should refocus the campus on the inherent dignity and rights of each individual, rather than identity groups.”

The United Electrical Workers Union and Cornell University did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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