UPUA candidates should want their platforms to stand out. Eyad Saifaddin’s certainly does, but not for the usual reasons.
“Advocate and support the global campaign of boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning (BDS) the State of Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law and respects human rights. Penn State divested from South African companies during the apartheid period. In a similar fashion, we hope that Penn State will provide its support in ending the Israeli occupation and apartheid.” [link added]
It is not exactly clear what power UPUA has to sanction an entire country, but it seems unlikely that such an action would be in its general purview.
Saifaddin grew up in Saudi Arabia, according to his biography, and studied in four different countries before coming here. Israel is an ally of the United States and one of its top recipients of foreign aid.
“I’m well-aware of the situation and cannot stand the injustice and oppressiveness that Palestinians are facing from Israeli government,” Saifaddin said.
Saifaddin said he would push for Penn State to distance itself from companies that buy and sell Israeli products, some of which are documented here.
While the idea may seem far-fetched, it’s worked before. During South Africa’s Apartheid era, Penn State students fought for a decade to boycott businesses with South African ties. They were successful, as Penn State divested many of its stocks that it had in South African companies in 1987 under President Bryce Jordan. However, comparing Israel to racial oppression in South Africa might not go over so well with the Assembly.
“I’m hoping that Penn State students can do something like that again and cut connections with such regimes,” Saifaddin said.
Cutting ties with those companies is the cynosure of his platform, but not the entirety of it. His other two platform points about lowering food prices and heated sidewalks are a bit more Penn State-centric.
UPUA elections will take place April 2.
UPDATE — 4:30 p.m.: Saifaddin’s platform was updated after the publishing of this post. The information in this post reflects what his platform said when it was published. His new platform can be viewed here.