University of California at Berkeley Student Senate votes for divestment against Israeli war crimes
UC Berkeley student senate passes divestment resolution
From UC Berkeley SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine)
March 18, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Download the text of the UC Berkeley Divestment Bill here.
For the first time in the University of California history, the UC Berkeley Student Senate has approved a bill to divest from two US companies in response to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and to Israel”s siege and bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
The Senate bill directs both the UC Regents and the Student Government to divest from General Electric and United Technologies. General Electric manufactures Apache helicopter engines; United Technologies manufactures Sikorsky helicopters and F-16 aircraft engines. In addition, the bill creates a task force to look into furthering a socially responsible investment policy for the UC system.
Student Senator Rahul Patel supported the bill, declaring that “in the 1980s the Student Government was a central actor in demanding that the university divest from South African apartheid. 25 years later, it is a key figure in shaping a nationwide movement against occupation and war crimes around the world. Student Government can be a space to mobilize and make decisions that have a significant impact on the international community. We must utilize these spaces to engage each other about issues of justice worldwide.”
The Senate deliberation, which started Wednesday night, concluded at 3 am Thursday morning, March 18. The meeting was flooded with students, educators, and community members, which prompted the relocation of the Senate session from the Senate Chambers to a larger room. The attendees took turns making impassioned arguments for and against the bill. The diverse list of guest speakers included 76 names, ranging in age from college freshmen to Vietnam veterans. After amendments, the final bill passed on a 16-4 vote.
In addition to Israeli military action, the student initiative was motivated by an 2005 call on behalf of 171 Palestinian civil society organizations calling on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel … until it fully complies with the precepts of international law.”
According to Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, co-author of the bill, “this vote is an historic step in holding all state and corporate actors accountable for their violations of basic human rights. The broad cross section of the community that came out to demand our university invest ethically belies the notion that the American people will tolerate the profiting from occupation or other human rights abuses.” Student Senator Emily Carlton, co-sponsor of the bill, agreed, adding “this action will only be historic if it is repeated throughout the country and the world; I hope that student governments all over America will see in this a sign that the time to divest from war is now.”
In 2009, Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, became the first US educational institution to divest from companies directly involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Hampshire College action was advocated by the group Students for Justice in Palestine, and ultimately adopted by the Board of Trustees. Today, through its Student Senate bill, UC Berkeley becomes the first large, public US institution to endorse a similar measure.
UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine has been working on a divestment campaign from entities that profit from the occupation of Palestine since 2000. UC Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine, founded in 2007, played a central role in researching the legal issues and the international laws pertaining to Israeli human rights violations.
UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine Can Be Contacted at admin[at]calsjp.org.
In the Michigan Daily,
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
March 12, 2010
Text of Wayne State University’s Student Council Divestment Resolution:
Approved on April 17, 2003,
“WHEREAS, the Student Council of Wayne State University has grave misgivings about financing violent ethnic cleansing, racially directed against millions of occupied Palestinian civilians, who are both innocent and helpless,
“WHEREAS, those millions of Palestinians suffer long-term malnutrition, are surrounded by Israeli army bulldozers, tanks, soldiers, and by jet bombers, all of which have killed thousands of occupied Palestinians,
“WHEREAS, on Sunday, March 16, 2003, an American college student, Rachel Corrie, was killed in plain sight, while dressed in bright orange, while waving, and while shouting at an Israeli Army bulldozer through a megaphone, by that same Israeli Army bulldozer, in the Occupied Gaza Strip,
“WHEREAS, that Israeli Army bulldozer ran her over twice,
“WHEREAS, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has urged us all to divest from Israel due to its violent and humiliating apartheid policies,
“WHEREAS, Israel was a long-time, close ally of White Apartheid South Africa,
“WHEREAS, the Wayne State University Board of Governors (“the Board”) has knowledge of University investments, including what governments our University is paying taxes to by means of investment, and has the authority to seek such information from its fund managers,
“THEREFORE IT IS RESOLVED, that we ask the Board to immediately divest (dis-invest) our university from Israel,
“THEREFORE IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that we ask the Board for a report this semester, on its progress in divesting the University from its investments in Israel, including divestment from all companies doing business in Israel, and divestment from all stocks and pension funds which include those companies.”
This Resolution is on the Web at: http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-news-0376.html
* “The Wayne State University Student Council voted for total divestment from Israel.”
Resolution for Ending Support to Israel:
See news coverage, below right (From the January-February 2004 ICPJ newsletter) –
The Human Rights Commission urged Ann Arbor City Council to also approve this Resolution.
Click on the Resolution to enlarge it.
“Arms Divestment and Cessation of US Military Aid to Israel”
A resolution of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and its MiddleEast Task Force
As persons of faith who believe in the equal worth and dignity of all people, we are distressed that Israelis and Palestinians have become locked in an escalating cycle of violence. We categorically condemn the taking of any life, Israeli or Palestinian. We are convinced that only the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a geographically and economically viable independent Palestinian state can bring peace to the Middle East and achieve the goal of two nation-states – Israel and Palestine – living peaceably side-by-side, with equality and security, possibly in a confederation.
We have long been dismayed by threats to the existence of Israel. We are equally dismayed by the continual military occupation and virtual colonization of Palestinian territory by Israeli armed forces and settlers,the human rights abuses against Palestinians, and the destruction of the Palestinian economy. Devastation of the physical and social infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza – including the forcible eviction from and demolition of homes – does not quell terrorism. It engenders more.
Such actions fuel deeper hatred of Israel in surrounding countries, while causing a major humanitarian disaster among Palestinians. And they leave Palestinians continually vulnerable to expulsion from the land in which they have been deeply rooted for generations. U.S. weapons and military funding are being used in these violations of human rights and international agreements. Americans of conscience must protest.
We do not have faith that governments alone will take the necessary actions to bring about a change in the Israeli government policies described above. We therefore believe that nonviolent civilian action is needed, aiming to limit the present intense funding of Israeli military activities.
Accordingly, we will work with those groups who are calling on the governing bodies of our religious institutions, the City of Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan, and our fellow citizens.
* to use their influence to encourage the United States government to end its complicity in these violations of human rights by suspending its military aid and arms sales to Israel, and
* to divest themselves from all companies that manufacture or sell arms and other military hardware to Israel, in order to bring about:
* Israel’s compliance with United Nations Resolution 242, which calls for “the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent (1967) conflict”;
* Israel’s compliance with the United Nations Committee Against Torture Nov. 2001 Report (paragraph 53), which recommends that Israel’s use of “the crime of torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” must be prevented;
* Israel’s cessation of settlement building and expansion, and itsvacating of existing settlements in the Occupied Territories in compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” (Article 49, paragraph 6, 1949);
* Israel’s acknowledgment of the applicability of United Nations Resolution 194 (1948) with respect to the rights of refugees, and acceptance that refugees should either be permitted to return to their homes and property or be justly compensated for their losses.
This statement is derived from multiple sources, including several university divestment petitions; and from members of the Middle East Task Force of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and the Palestine-Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting.
“Call for Peace in the Middle East” by Ann Arbor Committee for Peace which later changed its name to Michigan Peaceworks.
[This Resolution calls for an End To US Military Aid to Israel until the Occupation Ends and ALL the settlements are dismantled]
Preamble: The Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace recognizes that the conflict in Palestine/Israel is an issue of great concern in our community,around which emotions often outweigh objectivity.
We do not wish to contribute to the discord, but rather to unify people around common goals of nonviolence and fairness. Our organization formed shortly after 9-11-01 to address issues of peace, civil liberties, and civil rights-particularly how these issues would be affected by the U.S. government military response to the 9-11 attacks. We consider a peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to be an important element in curtailing the cycle of violence worldwide.
Statement: Over the past two years, we have witnessed in grief and anguish the appalling destruction resulting from the spiral of violence in the Middle East. Violence will only beget further violence. We condemn in the strongest terms the practices that bring about the deaths of innocent people and the destruction of communities.
Fortunately, there are many who work for peaceful resolution of the conflict. These people and organizations give hope that future generations of Israelis and Palestinians can live normal, secure lives, in peace with each other. We support the Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers, including the Bereaved Families for Peace, who call on their fellow citizens to renounce violence. We support the Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories. We support those from Israel and other countries who work with Palestinians to rebuild destroyed homes. We support the efforts of those states and organizations that have made proposals for a just peace, including the member states of the Arab League, which has called for normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for creation of a Palestinian state and a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
In solidarity with all those working for peace in the Middle East, we call for the following:
* An immediate end to the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza,and East Jerusalem;
* An immediate end to the violence on both sides, recognizing violence as including Occupation, military incursions, and suicide bombings;
* A full evacuation of all settlements with the exception of minor negotiated border adjustments;
* A just settlement for the refugees who have been forced by war to leave homes in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza;
* Establishment of the state of Palestine side by side with the state of Israel with the boundaries established by UN Resolution 242;
* Social and economic justice and full legal rights for all citizens of both states;
* A major international effort to assist the reconstruction of Palestine;
* An end to U.S. military aid to Israel until the Occupation ends and the settlements are dismantled;
* Negotiations towards arms control and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction for the entire region;
* Recognition of and normalization of relations with Israel by all the countries of the Middle East.
Adopted by the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace on November 11, 2002
Resolution to Divest in Principle and Practice, From Israel by the National Lawyers Guild
(Adopted by NLG National Convention 10/24/04)
WHEREAS the Israeli government with its illegal occupation and expansionist program in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip is engaged, and has been engaged in grave human rights violations including but not limited to:
the use of live ammunition on unarmed civilians (including men, women, and children);
massive and disproportionate use of force including the firing of missiles from Apache helicopter gunships against defenseless civilian populations;
illegal mass arrests and institutionalized torture (including men, women, and children); the willful destruction of agricultural land;
the deprivation of water;
forced malnutrition with concomitant health consequences including stillborn deaths and irreversible developmental damage to children;
the mass demolition of homes and confiscation of land;
hostage taking and extra-judicial assassinations;
denial of medical services to the sick and wounded;
the use of human shields (including children);
the targeting of schools, and hospitals;
the building of illegal fortified “Jewish-only” Israeli colonies/settlements on confiscated land connected by “Jewish-only” bypass roads, and the heavily subsidized transfer of hundreds of thousands of its own civilian population into these colonies/settlements;
WHEREAS the International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel’s Apartheid Wall violates international humanitarian law which governs Israel’s administration of the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967 as well as the fundamental human rights of the Palestinians;
WHEREAS by virtue of, but not limited to, the Principles of the Nuremberg Charter and Judgment;
The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights;
International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights;
The Geneva Conventions, in particular, but not limited to the 4th Geneva Convention, the Convention Against Torture, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, as well as other international covenants and the general humanitarian principles of international law,
these acts constitute war crimes, and in some cases crimes against humanity.
WHEREAS, the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 USC sec. 2304, provides that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;”
WHEREAS, the UN General Assembly on October 22, 2003, reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and …. reiterating its opposition to settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories almost unanimously, with the exception of the US, Israel,…
BE IT RESOLVED that the NLG seeks, in principal and practice, to support national and international campaigns to divest from Israel…and (a) support divestment campaigns to make full public disclosure of any and all investments it or other institutions have in Israel and of any and all profits earned from companies invested in Israel, and (b) either immediately divest from those companies, or cause such companies to disinvest from Israel until all of the following conditions are met:
1. Withdraw armed forces;
2. Permit interested refugees to return to their homes and compensate the rest;
4.Vacate all Jewish-only settlement/colonies;
5.Compensate all Palestinian victims.
“University of Sussex students vote to boycott Israeli goods”
November 27, 2009
“Faculty Senate in Wisconson passes divestment bill”
“Dearborn Student Gov’t Demands Divestment”
“Dearborn student government pushes ‘U’ to divest funds from Israel”
“The student government at the University’s Dearborn campus last week unanimously passed a resolution calling for the University’s Board of Regents to vote to divest from Israel.”
Reported in the Michigan Daily, at:
Call to divest from Israeli Occupation, by Howard University’s faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences
Adopted May 13, 2003
Approved unanimously by the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission.
“Prominent call for divestment at Howard”
by: Will Youmans – The Arab American News
17th, March 2007
Activists calling for ending financial support for Israel welcomed a victory at a university in Washington, DC. The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University voted overwhelmingly to call on the university’s board of trustees to divest from Israel.
The faculty at this historically Black institution came down with a 25 to 2 vote in favor of divestment, beginning with the identification of university “funds that are being invested in ‘offending’ companies that are offering material support to Israeli Occupation.”
The March 8th call was introduced by David Schwartzman, a biology professor of Jewish origin. He told “The Arab American News,” there was not much opposition, except by the college’s Dean, who refused to put divestment on the agenda. He plans on introducing a similar resolution to the faculty Senate this spring.
He sponsored the measure in the hope that “these resolutions start spreading around the country and generate action comparable to the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s.”