Black Lives Matter.
We, the undersigned chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)*, unequivocally support the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and its newly released policy platform for “Black power, freedom, and justice.” We fully endorse M4BL’s demands and take this moment to renew our commitment to fighting anti-blackness as well as all systems of oppression that disenfranchise and oppress Black communities.
We hear M4BL’s call for societal transformation –– from self-determination and investment in Black education to universal healthcare and civil rights protections for queer, trans, and non-binary Black communities –– and for an end to the centuries of violence against Black peoples. We recognize and condemn the harm caused by colonialism, militarization, incarceration, surveillance, resource theft and destruction, and erasure to Black communities in the US and around the world. In affirming that Black lives and Black liberation matter, we aim not only to uphold those working alongside us in the US but also those pursuing Black freedom globally. Accordingly, we pledge to uplift Black voices, including those of Afro-Palestinians, and to root out anti-blackness as we continue to build our movements.
We are moved by the platform’s recognition of Israel’s apartheid laws, illegal settlements, segregated road systems and military checkpoints, punitive home demolitions, and prison system, through which Palestinians, including children, are routinely subject to harassment and torture. As campus organizers, we also welcome M4BL’s endorsement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), particularly given the current climate of anti-boycott legislation that we face, and we echo its acknowledgment of the US’s culpability in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, notably through military aid, diplomatic support, and investment in private prison companies.
While the struggles of Palestinians and Black people are not identical, we recognize that the same systems and structures contribute to global oppression. To envision and build a world rooted in liberation, we must and will carry forward the legacies of Black and Palestinian solidarity. “Our collective futures depend on it.”
We are steadfast in our support of Black liberation, and urge others in the Palestine solidarity movement to share and endorse the platform and take action.
In reaffirmed solidarity,
American University Students for Justice in Palestine
Athens for Justice in Palestine (University of Georgia)
Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine
Brandeis University Students for Justice in Palestine
Bryn Mawr College Voices for Palestine
California State University–Fullerton Students for Justice in Palestine
City University of New York–Hunter College Palestine Solidarity Alliance
Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine
Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine
DePaul University Students for Justice in Palestine
Drew University Students for Justice in Palestine
Earlham College Students for Justice in Palestine
Emory University Students for Justice in Palestine
The Evergreen State College Students for Justice in Palestine
Florida International University Students for Justice in Palestine
Florida State University Students for Justice in Palestine
Fordham University Students for Justice in Palestine
George Mason University Students Against Israeli Apartheid
The George Washington University Students for Justice in Palestine
Georgetown University Students for Justice in Palestine
Hampshire College Students for Justice in Palestine
Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee
Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine
Haverford College Students for Justice in Palestine
Indiana University–Purdue University of Indianapolis Students for Justice in Palestine
John Jay College of Criminal Justice Students for Justice in Palestine
Loyola University–Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine
Marquette University Students for Justice in Palestine
Michigan State University Students for Justice in Palestine
New York University Students for Justice in Palestine
Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine
Northwestern University Students for Justice in Palestine
Oberlin College Students for a Free Palestine
The Ohio State University Committee for Justice in Palestine
Rutgers University–New Brunswick Students for Justice in Palestine
Sacramento State University Students for Justice in Palestine
San Diego State University Students for Justice in Palestine
Santa Clara University Students for Justice in Palestine
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine
St. Joseph's College Students for Justice in Palestine
Stanford University Students for Justice in Palestine
Swarthmore College Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine
Temple University Students for Justice in Palestine
Tufts University Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California–Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California–Davis Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California–Irvine Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California–Los Angeles Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California–San Diego Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California–Santa Barbara Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California–Santa Cruz Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Cincinnati Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Dayton Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Illinois–Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Illinois–Urbana Champaign Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Louisville Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Maryland–College Park Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Students Allied for Freedom and Equality
University of Michigan–Dearborn Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Minnesota Students for Justice in Palestine
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Students for Justice in Palestine
University of North Florida Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Pennsylvania Penn Students for Justice in Palestine
University of South Carolina Students for Justice in Palestine
University of South Florida Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Texas–Austin Palestine Solidarity Committee
University of Wisconsin–Madison Students for Justice in Palestine
Vassar College Students for Justice in Palestine
Wayne State University Students for Justice in Palestine
Wellesley College Students for Justice in Palestine
Wesleyan University Students for Justice in Palestine
Williams College Students for Justice in Palestine
By Omar Zahzah, UCLA SJP
In 2005 Palestinian Civil Society issued the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and subsequently chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine in college campuses across the U.S. took it upon themselves to honor this call to action by attempting to get their schools either to boycott or divest from—that is, stop investing in—companies that profit directly from committing human rights violations against Palestinians. Despite the BDS movement’s explicitly non-violent and humanitarian agenda, there have been various objections raised against campus divestment efforts. One such counterargument is that student activists working for this cause aren’t dedicated to “true” justice, because if they were, they would be also be concerned with, say, the unequal treatment of women in Saudi Arabia or injustices faced by Palestinians within other Arab countries. There are, of course, many more issues that could be listed, and that’s precisely the point—the issues usually brought up in these arguments are variables; what remains constant is the underlying implication—namely, that pro-divestment students are somehow “inauthentic” when claiming that they’re working for justice because they only focus on one specific issue.
There are several problems with this argument. Firstly, as Omar Barghouti, Palestinian scholar, choreographer and activist, remarked during an event last Wednesday, divestment is not a zero-sum game. There are many BDS activists involved in multiple causes. Indeed, much of the work done by our SJP chapter is outreaching to and collaborating with a diverse array of other student organizations dedicated to ending the unequal treatment of systematically marginalized groups.
Furthermore, as figures like Cory Robin have argued, it is ridiculous to fault activist efforts for being specific. Throughout history, necessary changes have been brought about precisely by reformers who identified clear, articulable, and achievable goals related to a wider issue, goals which were then pursued via carefully organized campaigns. So, for instance, the unequal treatment of people of color within the U.S., while viewed as a larger concern, has been and continues to be countered through organizing efforts tied to particular aspects of discrimination, such as full and equal access to resources, voting rights, etc. The list goes on and on, and divestment, which would ensure that our school no longer invests in companies that directly profit from systematic abuse of Palestinians, is no different. The point is, although they ultimately work toward a wider goal, the efforts of activists are always specific, and so to cite this as a defect demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of activism and even historical progression overall.
But for me, one of the chief issues of this argument is its racist and reductive logic. Let me illustrate by example: if I were to tell someone who is active in campaigns related to the femicides in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico that they are not dedicated to “true” justice because their efforts don’t include the treatment of women in other Latin American countries, I would basically be implying that all Latin American countries are “the same” by virtue of being close to one another and sharing a common language. Of course this is not true; despite our awareness of what some countries have in common, we can’t use these similarities as an excuse to over-generalize to the point that we forget how each country is still unique and comes with its own particular set of problems and complications. This is just as true for the Near East as it is for Latin America, and yet opponents of BDS continue to issue this very charge against Palestine solidarity activists.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Divestment may only be one cause, and it’s true that it won’t solve everything, even for the Palestinians. But as Dr. King’s quote makes clear, bringing an end to any instance of oppression only brings us closer to a more humane and equal world. If that’s not true justice, I don’t know what is.
By Lila Suboh and Dana Saifan
“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state – (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and who were historically part of the Arab community,” stated Newt Gingrich, a U.S. Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
That’s right, Palestinians are “invented” people. The 4.3 million people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the 5 million Palestinian refugees are “invented” people.
Maybe it is because Palestinians are “invented” that they don’t deserve basic human rights, such as access to water, roads, electricity, food and medical supplies? Or maybe they don’t deserve a homeland of their own because they are “invented” people? Or maybe, just maybe, it is because Palestinians are “invented” that they are subjugated to live under Israel’s occupation, which has been deemed illegal under international law?
The truth is, we are all “invented” people, living in “invented” nations that were birthed at the expense of indigenous peoples, disregarding those human beings’ real identities, histories and experiences prior to the invention of nations.
Despite the superficial invention of labels for strips of land spread across vast oceans, the people on these lands are very real. UCLA students and Los Angeles residents are very real. The Palestinian people are very real.
Likewise, the struggles of students on campus and Palestinians are real and concern us all. Last week, UCLA students rallied against a proposed 20 percent hike to University of California Student Health Insurance Plan fees and caps on student benefits.
In a more severe struggle for access to health care, the Palestinian people face worsening health conditions as the Israeli military’s checkpoints impede pregnant women, the sick, and the elderly from reaching hospitals in the West Bank.
The Israeli blockade prohibits vital medical supplies, such as needles and medicine, from reaching Palestinians in Gaza whose lives depend on them.
While the Palestinian struggle for basic health needs, as a matter of life or death, is more critical and overt than UC struggles to maintain health care, the understanding of access to health care as a basic human right is universal.
As UCLA students, we face budget cuts and fight for access to higher education. Palestinian students persist through roadblocks (both physical and financial) each day to attain their education, despite the chilling reality that only $192 is spent on each non-Jewish Palestinian child per year by the Israeli government, compared to $1,100 on each Jewish Israeli child, according to the Washington Report.
And just as our minority communities around Los Angeles are racially targeted and incarcerated, Palestinians are deemed “security threats” because of their race.
According to Palestinian human rights organization Addameer, 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 are prosecuted each year through Israeli military courts and more than 4,700 Palestinians are in prison as of Jan. 1, 2013.
We are all “uninvented” human beings that are equally deserving of our human rights, from UCLA students to Palestinians.
This week, Students for Justice in Palestine is hosting its annual Palestine Awareness Week, a program dedicated to educating the UCLA community about Palestine and its people who resist Israel’s oppression within the Palestinian territories, within Israel and around the world. This is an opportunity for UCLA students and faculty to learn why this conflict is not as complicated and controversial as many have portrayed it to be.
As human beings, Palestinians deserve equal rights – it’s as simple as that. With the solidarity of UCLA students and faculty, these rights are possible to attain, just as it was possible for students and faculty to help deconstruct South African apartheid in the 1980s.
As Archbishop Desmond Tutu emphasized, by standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, “You are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing. You are doing that which is incumbent on you as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings.”
Click here to read this in the Daily Bruin
My name is Yanely, and I am here on behalf of National MEChA to stand in solidarity with SJP to demand for the liberation of all Palestinians, whose current state of occupation is severely hindering their Life, Liberty, and their pursuit of happiness.
First and foremost, I would like to thank Students for Justice in Palestine for reaching out and ensuring that a MEChA representative was present at the 2nd National Students for Justice in Palestine. We truly appreciate this grandiose gesture.
MEChA is a nationwide organization that emerged from the Chican@s Movement in 1969 and has been standing strong ever sense. MEChA is an acronym that in compasses the embodies the vision of justice. The M stands for Movimento, or movement. A movement that is continues and will withstand the test of time. It will not stop until our Raza is fully liberated, as is SJP's movement. E stands for Estudiantil, students. During the Chican@ movement, students were heavily involved in challenging the systems of oppression that they face in their day-to-day lives, especially in reference to the education system. High school students would unit to walkout of the school systems that were not offering them proper education, cultural competence, and were still segregated. Students are a key component for the Chican@ movement, as well as in present. C stands for Chican@, which symbolizes more than a form of identification, but also an ideology that serves as a form of resistance to combat forced assimilation in the United States. Chican@ also emphasizes the importance of taking pride in one's indigenous roots, in a society that too often seeks to shame people of their indiginality. Through the philosophy of Chicanismo, our Raza conserve the rich cultura of our ancestors. Lastly, the A stands for Aztlán, which is related to the unity of our Raza that goes beyond geographical constraints.
MEChA was founded on the principles of self-determination for the liberation of our gente. We believe that political resistance and education of our people will lead to change in society. "MEChA must bring to the mind of every young Chicana and Chicano that the liberation of her/his people from prejudice and oppression is in her/his hands and this responsibility is greater than personal achievement and more meaningful than degrees, especially if they are earned at the expense of her/his identity and cultural integrity. MEChA, then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity, of sisterhood and brotherhood, and a resolve to undertake a struggle for liberation in society where justice is but a word. MEChA is a means to an end" (El Plan de Santa Barbara). These philosophies are applied to all our companer@s seeking justice for all, including SJP.
So, how did National MEChA officially endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israeli occupation you might ask?
It all started in the sun-filled state of Arizona, where the heat isn't the only thing burning, but also, the fire ignited in the souls of those fighting for the rights of people who are being explicitly exploited by unjust government policies and corporate interest; A burning fire that each and every one of us in this room has within.
During MEChA's 19th annual National MEChA Conference, MEChA as a whole, voted to endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel, not only because of the brutal abuse of power executed by military occupation & the application of settlements towards a people, but because our Raza can relate to the concept of invasion, dispossession, occupation, exploitation and discrimination.
One cannot discuss the origin and prosperity of the United States without addressing the manner in which land was accumulated through forceful removal of the native people based on the premise of racial class difference. Under the law, native people and African Americans were not citizens of the U.S. and therefore could not own land. These reasoning were applied to Mexican natives after the Treaty of Guadalupe, which should have protected their right to citizenship. That gave Anglo-settlers the lawful "right" to dispose and challenge property titles of Mexican landowners. The accumulation by the oppressors can also be seen in present day Palestine. Both communities are being treated as disposable commodities, not as human beings; twisted and morphed like an object to benefit the corporate interest.
And Yes, our struggles are distinct to our people, but defiantly relatable. At the end of the day, all oppression is oppression regardless of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, ability, and so forth. and an impediment to one's free choice.
There was just no way we could not stand in solidarity with you all. We are brothers and sister, and we couldn't stand idly by and not take action. Oppression takes place at the global scale. This is not only a Palestinian issue, a Chican@/ Latin@ issue. It is human rights issue, an environmental issue, a global issue.
We have to learn how to relate to each others communities, understand each others history, stuggles, needs, and personal life stories, in order to create long a long lasting coalition; that goes beyond business matters and that truly evokes us at our core. Nuestra familia. Our family.
You see, our unity scares people. Two radical groups working together, challenging systems of oppression. In a society that too often refuses to acknowledge it even exist.
Damn, I'd be scared too.
We will not stop, because our cause is too powerful, too important. We will not stop until our communities stop being treated as communities to corrupt governments, and corporations, whom benefit from the oppression and death of our people.
So today, I stand before you all, to solidify MEChA's endorsement of Boycott, divestment, and sanction towards Israeli occupation. As well as starting and continuing building our solidarity work.
Our struggle will not be easy, and it might not be short, but together, we can make liberation possible for all. Our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls will not let us give up. With each other's support, we will succeed, because La union hace la Fuerza. Unity creates strength.