Student Union hears resolutions about Israel-Hamas conflict and free COVID-19 tests
The Student Union Senate voted down a resolution to condemn the recent actions of Hamas. The resolution, which Senator Yoni Kahn ’24 introduced, would have served as the unified opinion of the Senate.
Kahn said that the resolution was about “supporting Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, and Muslim students,” many of whom he said had been affected by the recent violence in Palestine and Israel.
He also said that while the resolution was condemning Hamas, it was not about the Israeli government or the conflict overall.
“I stand with the Palestinian cause,” Kahn said during his presentation to the Senate. “But this is about condemning an extremist organization.”
On Oct. 7, militants from the terrorist organization Hamas, which is also the governing body of Gaza, crossed the Gaza-Israel border and killed over 1,400 Israelis, most of them civilians, and took nearly 200 people hostage. In response, the Israeli government cut off electricity, food, and other necessary supplies to Gaza, whose border it has full administrative control over.
Hamas and the Israeli military have also been exchanging rocket fire since the incursion. Israel’s “Iron Dome,” missile defense system intercepts the majority of rockets coming into Israel, but Gaza has no such countermeasure.
The Israeli military has also ordered the evacuation of over 1 million people from northern Gaza, resulting in what has been deemed by some as a “humanitarian crisis.”.
Senator Allison Weiner ’25 said that it was “ridiculous to call on an internationally recognized terrorist organization to do anything,” in reference to a part of the resolution which said that the Student Union “calls on Hamas to immediately release all hostages back to their families unharmed.” Weiner said that as a Jewish student who is intimately aware of the target that is on Brandeis’ back as a heavily Jewish institution, it would be unsafe to call upon a group that is not a friend to the Jewish community, as it would only put Brandeis’ thousands of students at higher risk."
Senator Eamonn Golden ’24, who motioned to have the resolution added to this week’s agenda initially, said that the goal of the resolution was not to change Hamas’ actions, but to “show students that we’re in solidarity with them in their time of need.”
In addition to condemning Hamas, the resolution also asked organizations around campus to educate students about the conflict and promote “empathy, tolerance, and informed discussion.”
The Senate went into executive session for over half an hour to discuss the resolution. After returning to public session, the Senate voted by anonymous ballot on the resolution. Six senators voted for, 10 voted against, and three abstained on the adoption of the resolution.
Senator Sahil Muthuswami ’24 also presented a Senate Money Resolution, which the Senate will vote on next week, to order 90 COVID tests to distribute to students for free. Muthuswami said that the plan is to only order 90 tests because they will expire after only a few months, and he wants to make sure that there is enough student demand before ordering more.
— Editor's note: Context was added to further explain Allison Weiner's quote.