This resolution is calling for the University of California to not be complicit in human rights violations committed by Cemex, CRH, HP, GE, Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamic, Northrop Grumman, and United Technologies. These companies are complicit in war crimes and uphold an apartheid against the Palestinian people. This summer we saw a lot of these companies directly involved in war and bloodshed through Operation Protective Edge that resulted in the deaths of close to 2500 Palestinian civilians. Boeing provided the Apache helicopters and fighter jets that carried out indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas like UN shelters, schools, public gathering locations, houses, hospitals, disabled homes, and many more. The United Nations called the massacres, crimes against humanity and proceeded to condemn the entire operation. General Dynamics provides the ammunition and artillery to the Israeli Defense Forces that results in the death of civilians, many of them children. Northrop Grumman provides the IDF with precision missiles that targeted crowded, civilian areas in Gaza. The list of atrocious war crimes committed by these companies can go on. We need to ask ourselves, how can an educational institution like the University of California that we uphold to high standards of ethics and morality possibly invest in companies that profit from death and bloodshed? How can we as students have our tuition going to the systematic extermination of a people? How can we as taxpayers accept funding this war?
Beyond the war in Gaza, we recognize that Palestinians face discrimination and dehumanization on a daily basis. Palestinian minority communities living within Israel are second-class citizens, not granted basic human rights. Palestinians living within the occupied territories of Gaza and West Bank live under a siege where their movements, their education, their access to necessities like food, water, and medicine is at the mercy of the Israeli Defense Forces. We also recognize that there is an increasing effort by Israel to expand their Jewish-Only settlements which has resulted in the expulsion of thousands of Palestinian families (now refugees). Caterpillar provides the bulldozers that inhumanely demolish Palestinian homes, gardens, and olive trees to make way for Jewish settlements. Cemex illegally deprives the West Bank of their natural resources in order to supply the apartheid wall that isolates the West Bank territory. CRH also provides cement and materials to aid the construction of the apartheid wall in the West Bank. It is important to recognize that the wall has been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice as it restricts Palestinian movements, and prevents access to land and necessary resources. HP provides technology for the checkpoints that racially profile Palestinians to control their movements. This is an issue we can find parallels with in the United States because youth of color are subject to excessive racial profiling and police brutality. HP profits from global mass incarceration. It is vital to recognize that these companies are committing human rights violations against many communities and not solely the indigenous Palestinian peoples.
IYTP recognizes that as a university we have ALREADY taken a very polarized stance against Palestinian communities. We have chosen to be involved and fund the oppression of Palestinian people through acts of violence, war and discrimination. We believe that divesting from these companies will ensure neutrality in the situation and ensure that we are ethically responsible through our investments. We know that companies focused on profits can dehumanize marginalized communities, as the youth we seek to fight for are often victims of this system of oppression. The youth we fight for are caught in a vicious cycle of institutional racism that prioritizes profits and corporations over people and communities. The systematic oppression of the Palestinian people is happening through vicious acts of war, through institutional apartheid practiced by the Israeli government, through a deprivation of basic human rights, through a dehumanization by the Israeli Defense Forces; and we must recognize that indigenous Palestinian communities are being subject to this every day since the inception of the state of Israel. A country created on the basis of ethnic expulsion (The Nakba) and on institutional racism (a state only for Jews despite indigenous Palestinians already living there) cannot preach equality unless those acts of racism end. These companies facilitate these acts of racism.
We want the University of California to prioritize people. We want the UC to prioritize communities. We want the UC to not force Palestinian Bruins to fund the oppression of their families back home. We want the UC to be morally consistent because we have taken stances against unethical corporations before. We want the UC to realize that we have done this before when we divested to end the apartheid in South Africa. We want the UC to realize that the apartheid ended as a result of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions. We want the UC to recognize that peace and respect is possible on this campus only after we have taken a neutral stance. We want the UC to be neutral on the issue of Israel-Palestine, and this is how. We, as students, do not want to fund violence. We, as IYTP, cannot fight the oppression of youth of color and still be complicit in the issue of Palestinian human rights. We want the UC to realize that we can be on the right side of history again. We want the UC to DIVEST.
In Solidarity with all oppressed peoples,
Incarcerated Youth Tutorial Project,
Proud Co-Sponsor of the Fall 2014 Divestment Resolution.