Associated Students, Inc.
California State University, Long Beach
Long Beach, CA 90840
Dear Esteemed Senators,
We are writing you to endorse the resolution calling for socially responsible investments regarding companies that profit from the human rights abuses committed against the Palestinian people. This resolution brought forth by Senators At Large Yasmeen Azam and Yasmin Elasmar, Senator for the College for Natural Sciences and Mathematics Hajer Rawag, and Vice President Logan Vournas will help ensure that the investment policies of California State University, Long Beach reflect the University’s mission of equity, inclusion, and diversity.
For over a half century, Israel’s violent military and colonial regime has resulted in some of the worst cases of human rights abuses. For example, Palestinians are forced to live under reprehensible conditions including separate legal systems, segregated housing and roads, restricted access to potable water significantly below what is recommended by the World Health Organization, and are subject to political imprisonment and torture designed to break Palestinian resistance.
The United Nations, the world’s most prestigious international institution, has repeatedly denounced Israel for its systematic and overt abuses against the Palestinian people. Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have also denounced Israel for its “separate and unequal” Jim Crow-like treatment against Palestinians. These organizations have also dubbed the Palestinian territory Gaza as an “open air prison” because it is experiencing a brutal blockade. Gaza is slated to be unlivable by the year 2020.
Because of Israel’s ongoing human rights abuses, universities and other institutions across the world have passed resolutions calling for the divestment from corporations that profit from human rights abuses committed against the Palestinian people.
As an organization, we are committed to achieving a just peace and advocating for Palestinian rights. We understand that this resolution seeks to directly target corporations such as Raytheon, G4s, Veolia, Caterpillar, General Electric, Northrop Grumman, and Hewlett-Packard Company which have been complicit in the violation of Palestinians’ human rights. For instance, since 1967 Caterpillar bulldozers have been used to illegally destroy thousands of Palestinian homes and villages.
Despite misleading statements made by President Jane Conoley and others, divestment is not attack on a particular community. Rather, the divestment resolution aims to remove support for companies that help sustain the institution of Apartheid. We believe that student engagement over the University’s investments is vital to ensuring that no campus community has to fund the oppression of their families.
We remind you of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who spoke out against the grave injustices committed against oppressed peoples and warned that “a time comes when silence is betrayal.” As Israel continues to expand illegal settlements, imprison children, limit vital resources including water, destroy precious farmland, and make it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to obtain an education, none of us can afford to be silent and we thus call upon you to vote for divestment, for accountability, and for a better future for Palestinians.
Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA