Sigma Alpha Mu Passes Unanimous Pro-Israel Resolution

posted on December 6, 2015

Sigma Alpha Mu is a fraternity that is open to all men of good moral character. Until 1953, membership in the fraternity had been limited to Jewish men. The fraternity acknowledges with deep appreciation its Jewish heritage which has enriched its life and the lives of its chapters and members. The fraternity also values free speech and association which are important components of this resolution.

FAQs on the ΣΑΜ Pro-Israel Resolution additional resources follow below the resolution.

The Resolution

The Octagon of Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity unanimously approved the following resolution at its Fall 2015 meeting the weekend of December 5, 2015:

 

Whereas Sigma Alpha Mu was founded as a fraternity of Jewish men in 1909.

 

And whereas Sigma Alpha Mu continues to attract members of all beliefs who appreciate our great heritage as a fraternity of Jewish men.

 

And whereas Sigma Alpha Mu is a fraternity of over 2,100 current undergraduates and 45,000 living alumni.

 

And whereas Sigma Alpha Mu has many Israeli-American alumni and undergraduate members.

 

And whereas thousands of Sigma Alpha Mu undergraduate members and alumni have traveled to Israel on Taglit-Birthright programs.

 

And whereas Sigma Alpha Mu believes Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

 

And whereas Sigma Alpha Mu supports the U.S.-Israel relationship because Israel is America's closest ally in the Middle East.

 

And whereas Sigma Alpha Mu will not sit idly as anti-Israel speech permeates across American college campuses.

 

And whereas Sigma Alpha Mu officially opposes the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.

 

Therefore, be it resolved, Sigma Alpha Mu will do everything in our power to strengthen ties between our undergraduate members, living alumni and the State of Israel.

 

This document outlines rules of engagement and provides answers to questions Fratres, alumni and other Fraternity stakeholders may ask. The fraternity is preparing a guide to address BDS on campus that will be distributed to all chapters. In addition, the ΣΑΜ Foundation offers Jewish Endeavors Initiatives grants for individuals and chapters to host or participate in programs.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Octagon expect of Sigma Alpha Mu members related the Pro-Israel Resolution?

  • The Octagon expects Sigma Alpha Mu members to become more educated on the issues. The Arab-Israeli conflict is complex and cannot be simplified into a bumper sticker.

What is the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement and why does Sigma Alpha Mu oppose it?

  • The BDS movement aims to delegitimize Israel through vicious, public attacks on campus, churches and communities. Sigma Alpha Mu opposes this movement because we believe Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state and we support the U.S.-Israel relationship because Israel is America's closest ally in the Middle East.

What do we mean in saying, “Sigma Alpha Mu will do everything in our power to strengthen ties between our undergraduate members, living alumni and the State of Israel?”

  • Sigma Alpha Mu is committed to helping its members and alumni become more educated on issues facing the State of Israel by providing resources and guidance in being proactive in supporting Jewish and Israeli concerns, including and especially the BDS movement.

If contacted by the media or campus newspaper, how should you respond?

  • Individual chapter members should not comment on behalf of the fraternity, deferring to the Chapter Prior.
  • The standard media relations of Sigma Alpha Mu apply. Contact ΣΑΜ Executive Director Andy Huston andyh@sam.org prior to any verbal or written response to media inquiries.

How does this impact non-Jewish members of Sigma Alpha Mu?

  • All members of Sigma Alpha Mu should be educated and aware of issues related to Israel.
  • Sigma Alpha Mu is developing opportunities for non-Jewish members to visit Israel on highly subsidized trips in partnership with other organizations.

How should chapters address acts of violence or Anti-Semitism on campus?

  • Report incidents immediately with the police, headquarters staff, and university administrators.
  • Document and photograph any acts of vandalism or damage to chapter property.

How should fraternity chapters address individual members that might oppose this resolution?

  • Our Creed calls for mutual moral aid and support. While we seek that ideal among our members, we must also strive to provide this mutual moral aid and support to Israel.
  • Open a dialogue about the issue with the individual member.
  • Note that any individual action taken not in line with this resolution shall not be affiliated or endorsed by the chapter.
  • Upon charges preferred by his chapter, the officers may take disciplinary action against an individual frater as outlined in the Blue Book.

What training is available for members of ΣΑΜ?

  • Interested chapters can schedule a meeting, conference or seminar with fraternity alumni and partner organizations to educate their members on this issue.
  • Additional training will be provided at ΣΑΜ educational programs.

What are ways in which you or your chapter can get involved?

  • Recruit Jewish members to travel to Israel on Taglit-Birthright programs.
  • Recruit non-Jewish chapter leaders to travel to Israel on subsidized trips.
  • Become active in already established pro-Israel student organizations on campus by co-sponsoring events and sending members to public lectures so that our undergraduate members can become more engaged on the issues.

What information should you report to Sigma Alpha Mu headquarters?

  • Number of students participating on birthright trips
  • Member involvement in pro-Israel organizations on campus
  • Member participation in events such as AIPAC
  • Any student government activity related to BDS

What are possible campus-based resources that members can seek out?

  • Hillel
  • Chabad on Campus
  • Israel on Campus Coalition
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • StandWithUs

For more information about this resolution or to get involved email israel@sam.org.

 

 

Resources

Following are several links to provide information about the BDS movement and context through various writings on the topic.

http://archive.adl.org/israel/advocacy/advocacy_for_israel/on_campus.html?xflag=2

http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/12106

http://www.stopbds.com/?page_id=1318

http://www.newsmax.com/AlanDershowitz/BDS-Mideast-Peace-Israel/2014/02/12/id/552468/

http://www.standwithus.org

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