Letter: UofC Divest Calls for Divestment for Human Rights in Palestine

By Letter to the Editor

Palestinians today face a comprehensive system of occupation, dispossession, and segregationin short, apartheid. Their cities are bombed, resources stolen, children kidnapped, and movement restricted. They have asked for our help.

In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called on the international community to use the tactics of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to respect international law and basic human rights. In response, #UofCDivest calls upon the University to divest from 10 companies, eight of which are American, which perpetuate this apartheid status quo. They are weapons manufacturers, surveillance technology companies, and construction suppliers for illegal Israeli settlements.

Our resolution, while targeted, supports the full demands of the BDS call: an end to the occupation, equality for all people in Palestine/Israel, and the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. Freedom, equality, return: human rights. If the realization of these fundamental rights represents such a threat to Israel’s “existence,” what kind of Israeli state do our opponents defend?

J Street nominally endorses an end to the occupation as a step toward lasting peace. But now, as #UofCDivest proposes concrete action against the occupation, J Street stands alongside a coalition that not only refuses to acknowledge the Occupation, but vocally opposes divestment from weapons manufacturers. When J Street says they are “pro-peace,” but must oppose the BDS movement, we understand that “peace” for them is preconditioned on Palestinians surrendering fundamental rights, an approach that can only reproduce the racist status quo. #UofCDivest stands for peace by demanding that we end our complicity in violence against Palestinians. What does J Street stand for?

— #UofCDivest Coalition