Saturday, April 27, 2013

At UMass Boston Student Senate:

Divestment bill is approved against Boeing for supporting military onslaught against the Gaza Strip -

[An earlier divestment victory from 2012 --]


University of Massachusetts Boston, MA, April 18th, 2012 -
The UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Government unanimously passed a bill demanding that the UMass Foundation, the university’s investment fund, divest from Boeing and other companies profiting from war crimes and/or human rights violations. This motion is a resounding victory for student activists nationwide and contributes to broader international solidarity movements, including the movement for Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel (BDS) as called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

Building on UMass’s tradition of student protest and ethical divestment, a coalition of concerned students, student groups, and faculty presented the bill to the Undergraduate Student Government. As one of the first American Universities to divest from apartheid South Africa in 1978, and having recently divested its funds from Sudan in protest of the genocide transpiring in Darfur in 2007, students sought to continue this tradition of ethical integrity by demanding divestment from Boeing, a company that has actively manufactured and sold weapons, which have been used in direct attacks on Palestinian civilians, a violation of international humanitarian law and human rights....
...The bill specifically highlights the connection between Boeing and Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 3-week military onslaught against the Gaza Strip in 2008-09, during which 1,300 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, including 412 children. Boeing produces the Hellfire missile and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, both of which are documented to have been used in Operation Cast Lead. Israel’s actions during Operation Cast Lead have been condemned by multiple international NGOs and humanitarian organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The UC Berkeley student government just voted for divestment against the Israeli military:

Exactly 10 years after the Wayne State University Student Council began the campus movement for total divestment against Israel ( )--

--the UC Berkeley student government has just voted for divestment against the Israeli military:


"ASUC Senate passes divestment bill SB 160 11-9"

Daily Californian (University of California at Berkeley)
April 18, 2013

"In a dramatic vote that was emotional for all sides, the ASUC Senate voted 11-9 to divest from companies affiliated with Israel’s military early Thursday morning.

"The heated debate began Wednesday evening and carried on for 10 hours, continuing into Thursday. Anna Head Alumnae Hall overflowed with hundreds of UC Berkeley students, faculty and community members engaging in a contentious debate regarding the bill, SB 160.

"SB 160, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa, calls the UC system a 'complicit third party” in Israel’s “illegal occupation and ensuing human rights abuses' and seeks the divestment of more than $14 million in ASUC and UC assets from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Cement Roadstone Holdings. According to the bill, these companies provide equipment, materials and technology to the Israeli military, including bulldozers and biometric identification systems.

"The final vote, which occurred just before 5:30 a.m., was met with cheering, stomping and cries of joy by supporters of the bill.

"Independent Senator and bill co-sponsor Sadia Saifuddin said she saw the vote as the culmination of years of struggle..."



"After all-night debate, Berkeley student senate calls on university to divest from 3 companies profiting from occupation"

Mondoweiss, April 18, 2013

"Huge news. A victory for the BDS movement, in Berkeley, at 8:30 a.m. today EST...

"...Today, congratulations poured in from around the world..."



"The First Resolution for Total Divestment from Apartheid Israel - at Wayne State University"

BDS at Wayne State University: 10th anniversary
The First Resolution for Total Divestment from Apartheid Israel - at Wayne State University

Students Movement for Justice

April 17, 2013
On this day ten years ago Wayne State University’s student council became the first in the US to pass a resolution calling on its school to divest from companies doing business in Israel. The resolution passed 9 to 7 following a year-long solidarity campaign on the Detroit campus, organized by Students Movement for Justice (SMJ), in the form of protests, mock refugee camps, mock apartheid walls, guest speakers and a“die-in.” Subsequently, similar resolutions were passed by student councils at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Hampshire College, Evergreen State College and more recently UC San Diego, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine.
The tenth year anniversary prompts us to reflect on the divestment resolution and make a few observations. First, the resolution’s language, like the discourse adopted by SMJ throughout its activism on campus, was unequivocal. It expressly referred to “violent ethnic cleansing,” the annihilation of “thousands of occupied Palestinians” and “apartheid.” The group had no interest in adopting a “strategy” of calling for the liberation of only 22% of historic Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza. Its language clearly rejected the “strategy” of dialogue with Zionists. This uncompromising approach predictably resulted in verbal and physical hostility from Zionists on campus. These incidents were documented on the pages of The South End, the campus newspaper. But we were not deterred. Zionists’ sensibilities were not on our list of priorities.
Second, until it was actually passed, SMJ’s members had no way of guessing how the Wayne State student council would vote on the resolution. Regardless, there was no reason to postpone presenting the resolution pending our certainty that it would pass. Had the resolution failed, it would have been to the university’s historical discredit. At least the divestment resolution would speed the day when the university finally bent to the unpopularity of investment in land theft, just as apartheid South Africa became an increasingly unpopular investment throughout the 1980’s.
Third, SMJ was an egalitarian grassroots movement, not a hierarchical organization. It believed in all students’ right to participate in political activism equally. For example, no one person had a monopoly on chants at on-campus protests. Instead, a platform was offered to everyone who wanted to address the protesters. This empowered students to participate. Decision-making at meetings was democratic. The group wasn’t concerned with titles or electing officers to executive positions.
Fourth, SMJ refused to sever Palestine from the other causes it stood for, even if that resulted in a slightly smaller number of members. SMJ chanted for Palestine’s freedom at the on-campus antiwar protest it held on the first day of the invasion of Iraq. It worked with Black leaders on campus and supported their fight for affirmative action. The Black students were among Palestine’s staunchest allies on campus. This is no surprise considering the anti-Zionist legacy of Malcolm X, of the Black Panthers and of SNCC starting in 1967. This also enabled us to connect Detroit to Palestine.
The tight Israeli alliance to apartheid South Africa is not forgotten in Detroit. We pointed out the bitter irony of living in a forcibly impoverished U.S. inner city while the U.S. government spent billions of dollars to prop up apartheid Israel and its Klan-style occupation forces. A decade later, we are optimistic about the future of Palestine activism on US campuses. Pro-Palestine activists can connect more easily now; social networking didn’t exist when the Wayne State resolution passed in 2003. Now in 2013, a string of campus divestment resolutions are shattering the illusion of Zionists’ invincibility, and are building the self-confidence of pro-Palestine activists.
We wish to thank the Palestinian people, who were waging the second intifada ten years ago, for inspiring us to deliver their message to our fellow students. Their brave example guided our political activism culminating in a victory we will remember for a long time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Divestment against Apartheid Israel is debated at Berkeley:

"Divestment bill to proceed to senate floor after approval by committee"

Daily Californian (At the University of California-Berkeley)
April 16, 2013


"After passing through the ASUC Senate’s external affairs committee Monday, two opposing bills on divestment from companies associated with Israel will be considered by the senate at its upcoming Wednesday night meeting.
"The bill in support of divestment, SB 160, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa, calls for targeted divestment of ASUC and UC assets from any companies that provide support to Israel’s military in the Palestinian territories or contribute to the building, maintenance or economic development of Israeli settlements on the West Bank..."


"Divestment debate: Echoes of Apartheid"

Daily Cal
April 16, 2013


Last Monday, after much dialogue and debate, the Organization of African Students unanimously decided to support the ASUC bill that calls for divestment from companies profiting from, or investing in, the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The decision to support divestment is a result of our concerns about the continued marginalization of Palestinians. As a people with a history of colonization, occupation and human rights violations, we can directly sympathize with the Palestinian people. Some of us have directly experienced such marginalization, and others learned of them from parents or secondary sources. Knowledge of this history makes us opposed to the mistreatment of any group based on physical characteristics, ethnicity or creed.

The house demolitions, the daily intimidation of Palestinians by the Israeli Defense Forces, the dehumanizing restrictions on movement of Palestinians, the mass imprisonment of Palestinians (including children) and the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian land and water remind us of the repressive European colonial tactics in many of our homelands as well as apartheid South Africa.

We understand that South Africa is not exactly the same as Israel but we believe that they are comparable enough to make this claim. Seeing as the African National Congress, the group that led the Anti-Apartheid Movement, has decided to support divestment from Israel assures us that we are not wrong in making such a comparison.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and South African anti-Apartheid leader Desmond Tutu’s experience during his visit to Palestine summarizes the reason for our unwavering support for divestment. Writing to UC Berkeley in 2010, Archbishop Tutu stated:

"I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. I have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinian men, women, and children made to wait hours at Israeli military checkpoints routinely when trying to make the most basic of trips to visit relatives or attend school or college, and this humiliation is familiar to me and the many black South Africans who were corralled and regularly insulted by the security forces of the Apartheid government....”

...As a pan-African Organization, we believe we have an appointment now, to divest and state our disapproval of the racist policies of the Israeli government. The intellectual and moral character of this university is being called into question. Let us not be late in deciding what this campus stands for....


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Divestment and boycott against Apartheid Israel, from Berkeley to Sydney University:

"ASUC Senate bill urges divestment from Israel"

The Daily Californian (UC Berkeley)
April 10, 2013

The ASUC Senate will be revisiting one of UC Berkeley’s most contentious issues with the introduction of a bill that calls for the divestment of all ASUC and UC funds from any companies associated with the Israeli military or settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The bill — which appeared on the agenda for Wednesday’s senate meeting — calls for divestment of ASUC and UC assets from any companies that provide support to Israel’s military in Palestine or contribute to the building, maintenance or economic development of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

The bill will go to the senate’s External Affairs Committee for consideration, after which senators may call for a vote.

A similar bill attempting to divest from Israel in 2010 led to heated debates, drawing sometimes hundreds to senate meetings and bringing international attention to campus. This bill was passed but then vetoed by then president Will Smelko. The senate failed to gather the majority two-thirds vote necessary to override the veto.

The current bill, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa, calls the UC a “complicit third party” in Israel’s “illegal occupation and resulting human rights abuses.” It identifies and seeks divestment from at least $14 million in UC Retirement Program and General Endowment assets in companies such as Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard....


Also, April 12th...

"Students call for Israeli uni boycott"

by:Ean Higgins
April 12, 2013


SYDNEY University's student representative council has called for the academic institution to cut ties with at least one Israeli university, in a move likely to reignite fierce debate over proposed academic boycotts of the Jewish state.

At what one SRC member, Patrick Massarani, described as a sometimes ugly debate on Wednesday night, the council passed resolutions that among other things called for all academic co-operation to be cut with Technion University in Haifa.



Friday, April 5, 2013

Another victory for boycott & divestment against Israeli apartheid -

- at University of Toronto:

April 6, 2013--

"For Immediate Release:

"The University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus Student Union has voted to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israeli apartheid. The meeting was long and intense, and passionate arguments were made by both sides.

"But in the end, the board members voted 9 Yes, 3 Abstain, 3 No, and the motion was carried. University of Toronto Scarborough will now join other universities, organizations, and unions in Canada in standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle."

Click on photo below to enlarge it: