April 11, 2010
Dear ASUC Members,
As the head of an Israeli peace and human rights organization, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), I would like to add our voice to those who have urged you to overrule the veto of the Senate President and reaffirm the decision to divest in companies profiting from the Israeli Occupation.
ICAHD, like many other Israeli and Jewish organizations in the US and other countries, endorses the call of Palestinian civil society to divest from companies profiting from the Occupation – and especially those like General Electric, United Technologies, Motorola, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Caterpillar who are so heavily invested in the Israeli military. After more than four decades of diplomatic and grassroots efforts aimed at inducing Israel to end its Occupation while watching it grow ever stronger, more permanent and increasingly violent and repressive, we believe the time is overdue for people the world over to tell Israel in no uncertain terms that it cannot be expect to be a part of the international community as long as it violates human rights, international law and dozens of UN resolutions with impunity.
And what we know as Israelis actively struggling alongside Palestinians “on the ground” in the Occupied Territories is that Israeli actions are motivated not by security concerns but by a pro-active intention of expanding into the West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to claim that land as it own and thereby foreclose the establishment of a viable, truly sovereign Palestinian state. The demolition of more than 24,000 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories since 1967, the expropriation of more than half the land of the West Bank, the building of 150 settlements housing a half-million Israelis, the uprooting of almost two million olive and fruit trees, the devastation of the Palestinian economy and the immiseration of its people and the construction of a wall twice as high as the Berlin Wall through Palestinian communities – all this, together with the bloodshed, cannot be explained by “security.” As Bishop Tutu and others in South Africa who have visited the Occupied Territories – including the Jewish Minister Ronni Kasrils – will testify, Israel is constructing an apartheid regime that in many ways is more oppressive that was the South African regime.
Now as then, governments were moved to action only when civil society raised its voice. Berkeley has always been one of the strongest and principled of those voices, and has often spurred the rest of us into action. Your reaffirmation of the decision to divest in GE and UT will once again lead the way.
In appreciation and solidarity,