The Divest from Death campaign, made up of a coalition of 19 student organizations, is supporting a resolution calling on the Student Association (SA) to use its platform to pressure Binghamton University administrators to implement principles of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement on campus.

It also recognizes Israel’s military campaign in Gaza as a genocide under international law and calls for an immediate, permanent humanitarian cease-fire.

The legislation will be presented to the SA Congress on Tuesday, and its demands include a call for the SA to advocate for the University to end partnerships with and divest its funds from Israel and the defense industry. Currently, the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science partners with Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems for senior year capstone projects, and defense contractors are often present at career fairs.

The campaign has disseminated a petition on Action Network, an online community organizing platform, which has sent over 15,680 letters to SA Congress representatives. One of these letters, obtained by Pipe Dream, said that “while our colleagues are subjected daily to news of bombings and massacres in their homeland, and every single university in Gaza has been destroyed by Israel, Harvey Stenger refuses to even utter the word ‘Palestine’ in his statements.”

The University did not respond to a request for comment about the resolution. The resolution attempts to tie administrators to the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“As the death toll of Israel’s invasion and apartheid mounts, the danger of feeder programs and partnerships with defense contractors, such as Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems is undeniably salient,” the campaign’s release read. “It is for this reason that we, members of the campus community, are organizing for an end to our University’s complicity in genocide.”

On Sunday night, the coalition published a clarifying letter to the Binghamton community, writing that “incidents of antisemitic harassment and abuse should be universally condemned and combatted [—] they also should not be conflated with the student body’s right to political protest.”

“This resolution and the tactics of BDS do not hold Israel to any kind of ‘double standard,’” the letter reads. “Our country is uniquely aiding Israel’s ongoing genocide with immense military and diplomatic aid — over $3.8 billion worth. Our government rightly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but simultaneously provides nearly 70 percent of Israel’s weapons. Furthermore, our University has offered no assurances that their investments do not support Israel’s atrocities and the weapons manufacturers who seek to profit from these horrors.”

As of April 13, Israeli bombardments and ground offensives have killed over 33,600 Gazans, mostly civilians. Over the past six months, students and community members, both in Binghamton and across the SUNY system, have held protests, rallies and vigils to bring attention to the growing violence in the region and urge their institutions to call for a cease-fire. SUNY BDS, a group of students, faculty and staff across the state campus system uniting to “[bring] an end to SUNY’s relationship with the state of Israel,” also backed the resolution.

Amari Pavati, the president of the New Yiddish Bund of Binghamton and a sophomore double-majoring in geography and classical studies, expressed the importance of precision when discussing divestment as a Jewish organizer.

“There is a fear that a lot of Jewish students have on campus of things like this and … as BDS as a form of hate,” Pavati said. “Kind of like a knee-jerk reaction [to] BDS — antisemitism, and I think it’s important to keep the focus on why we’re doing this, on what the impact we want to have is. Because it’s a form of protest against the government, and it needs to stay that way. That is really important, so signing on and continuing to help is absolutely not an easy decision.”

Though the bill says the SA cannot endorse organizations that support Israel and the defense industry, this does not prevent subsidiaries — including student organizations — from holding career fairs or other events associated with these entities. It also calls for the SA to amplify the resolution by posting it to their Instagram and having the Speaker of Congress send the resolution to a host of state, University and University Foundation officials.

“We are hopeful that our tireless work to make clear the cause of divestment will shift the positions of SA Congress and E-Board members who are undecided,” the Divest from Death Coalition wrote. “We believe that our joint statement highlights the dire importance of standing against genocide, militarism, colonialism and hatred in all its forms — not only as individuals, but as organizations and elected representatives who are urged to vocally and publicly support such causes.”

Editor’s Note: The BDS resolution’s author, Tyler Brechner, is a Pipe Dream News writer. He had no part in the writing and editing of this article.