Letter to the editor: Divestment resolution

This coming Wednesday, February 12th, the Associated Students at the University of California, Riverside, will be voting on a resolution that calls for the divestment of UC funds in American companies that support and further the Israeli apartheid of Palestinians, as well as profit from these human rights violations. This call for divestment is just one aspect of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is a global movement and campaign of protest against Israel “until is complies with international law and Palestinian rights” (bdsmovement.net). This movement on the UC level is spearheaded by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizations, such as SJP at UCR, but is firmly and unwaveringly backed by over forty-five campus-wide student-led organizations and centers from an astounding gradient of constituencies. These allies include Afrikan Student Alliance, Christian Student Fellowship, MECHA, Society of Women Engineers, and Sustainable UCR, as well as over 10 actively supporting UCR professors. The resolution was passed in the last academic year on the Riverside campus, but was later rescinded. The divestment resolution is not a targeting of individuals, but rather of institutions and corporations, and we would like to make it clear that to divest is to be neutral. By continuing to invest in the violation of human rights, the UC system is taking a stance in favor of the Israeli apartheid; by divesting, the UC system will not be invested in either side.

The companies in question further the apartheid process by developing technology or products that contribute to elements of physical segregation and harm to the objects of the apartheid. The companies included in the resolution are Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Raytheon, Cemex, Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) America, and L-3 Communications. The following is a statement lifted from the resolution that illustrates an example of precisely how these companies profit off of and support apartheid:

“Caterpillar…has violated these rights by continually providing engineering tools and bulldozers routinely used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, refugee camps, water cisterns, and agricultural fields; and by providing bulldozers used to expand settlements and construct the Separation Wall and checkpoints     throughout the West Bank, which have been ruled illegal in the International Court of Justice’s 2004 Advisory Opinion…”

Furthermore, Cement Roadstone Holdings provides building materials and cement that provide for the construction of checkpoints and the Separation Wall, and also owns and operates illegal manufacturing plants in the West Bank.  Hewlett-Packard supplies biometric identification systems used by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints, restricting the freedom and movement of the Palestinians, something not subject to Israeli citizens. General Electric manufactures and provides aircraft engines, specifically A64 Apache Helicopters, which are used systematically in the terrorization and attacks of Palestinian civilians. These attacks constituted severe human rights violations as well as war crimes as documented and condemned by Amnesty International.

The Students for Justice in Palestine, along with over forty-five student organization supporters and their individual members, call for divestment. As students, we cannot be financially complicit in any form of human rights abuses. By the allowance of our UC System funds being invested in complicit corporations, we become complicit third parties as well. This is a student issue, and we therefore call upon our fellow students to stand in solidarity with the call for divestment.

 

For questions or concerns, contact:

Amal Ali on behalf of SJP

ucr.sjp@gmail.com

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