Last month (February 2024), student government at the University of California – Davis considered – and eventually passed – a BDS resolution on campus. For Brothers of the Chi Delta chapter of AEPi at UC-Davis, the process – and their participation in it – was an eye-opening experience.

“I wouldn’t say that our campus had had a lot of antisemitism since October 7. There was a protest here and there but not a lot of issues here…not like some of the UC schools recently,” said Brother Adam Weissman (UC Davis, 2026).

But, when he and Brother Adiel Avidor (UC Davis, 2027) were asked to attend the February 16 meeting of the Davis undergraduate student senate, known as the Associated Students (ASUCD), and speak against BDS, they were somewhat unprepared for what awaited them.

“It was packed in this room – the coffee shop – where they held the meeting. You couldn’t even move,” said Brother Weissman. “It was also very very hot. There were about 30 pro-Israel people total in the building and 200 pro-Palestinians,” added Brother Avidor.

“Half the Senate was on their phone and not paying attention to any of the speakers,” said Brother Avidor. “Two of them were wearing keffiyeh so we had a pretty good idea that the meeting wasn’t going to go well,” added Brother Weissman. “In 2015, another BDS resolution was passed on campus and, shortly afterwards, our house was spray painted with swastikas and a rock was thrown through our window. I wanted the Senate to understand how this decision could affect people in the community, how resolutions like this can increase hate and encourage hate crimes. It has an impact.”

Brother Avidor commented, “I’m Israeli. I lived there for four years. I have a lot of friends currently in Gaza and I know someone who died on October 7. I – personally – believe in a two-state solution but BDS does not support a two-state system. BDS is opposed to Standing Together, a joint movement by Palestinians and Israelis. I wanted to talk about peace and it kind of went over their heads. I asked the Senators if this is what we stand for at Davis. They never answered.”

Over time, the ASUCD meeting devolved into a long night (the meeting lasted about six hours) on anti-Israel rhetoric and expletives which culminated in passing the BDS resolution (read more here). “It was a scary experience. People were cheering and yelling about stupid stuff, like saying that Jews shouldn’t be allowed to commemorate the Holocaust and stuff like that. I had to go outside to calm down,” said Brother Weissman. “My AEPi experience has taught me how to be a better public speaker and, most importantly, how to advocate for Israel and my people.”

“For me, having just joined, I’m still learning the impact of AEPi,” said Brother Avidor. “But, when I was in that room and speaking and everyone was giving me dirty looks, knowing that I have that community, knowing that when I looked at the 10 or 12 AEPi Brothers who came to support us, that they had my back, that meant a lot to me.”