To our peers at the University of California - Los Angeles,
We write to you from Stanford University, where just months ago our campus was asking similar questions to the ones you are now. We write to you to say that discussing divestment from the military occupation of Palestine has not destroyed our campus climate or relations. In fact, divestment turned out to be one of the most unifying topics our campus has recently addressed. Support for divestment generated the highest and most diverse turnout for any topic our senate had addressed. Over 75 students from virtually every community on campus came to our student union and lined the entire length from the entrance of the building, up two flights of stairs, all the way our Senate meeting room, which you can see in this video:
The bill before you calls for dialogue but has the opposite effect of promoting conversations. We encourage you to recognize that political action and divestment is one form of dialogue--in this case between students concerned with justice, a people living under an illegal military occupation, and an occupying state that refuses to listen to anyone--including international law, the United Nations and its close ally, the United States. With many of our own members having been in Palestine this summer, we can say without a doubt that investing money in Palestine will not erase the effects of living under military occupation. While money is important for the safety and security of a people, social responsibility and the freedom to live without external control or fear are paramount. People can have all the money and all the respect in the world from their peers. But if the government of these respectful peers continues to build walls around them, raid their homes at night, and detain their children, something needs to change.
We hope that you can understand that this occupation is not something that money can fix. Ending the occupation of Palestine and its people is the largest positive step we can take towards peace.
Yours in justice,
Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights