We are a group of Israeli and Jewish students at UCLA who officially endorse the divestment bill put forward by Students for Justice in Palestine. We understand that this bill seeks to directly target corporations that are complicit in occupation. The companies, HP, Cemex, CRH, Caterpillar and GE, profit from Israel's human rights offenses. The separation wall supported by Cemex and CRH and checkpoints powered by HP prevent Palestinian people from freely accessing their land and families. GE created necessary parts for the helicopters used during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's 2009 bombing campaign where 1400 Palestinian people died, mostly women and children. Caterpillar bulldozers have illegally destroyed thousands of Palestinian homes since 1967. For these reasons, we believe that divestment is the most simple and ethical form of action and has the potential to disrupt these structures of oppression where other efforts, such as peace talks, have failed.
While there is a very strong opposition which claims to be the only voice of the Jewish community, the reality is that many Jews and Israelis also feel silenced by this opposition. Many of us feel so silenced by the nature of opposition to our free speech that we don't even feel comfortable speaking openly about our principles. There are a wide variety of Jewish voices, identities, histories, and relationships to Israel/Palestine. For Israeli students, it means a censorship of our ability to speak freely about our home country. For Jewish students, it means a conflation of Judaism and militant nationalism. It is not anti-semitic to criticize a state nor is it anti-jewish to target companies that profit from crimes that the state commits. Divestment is a way to embrace the fullness of all our stories.
It is our strong relationships with Palestinian students on campus that lead us to participate in this movement. It is against our Jewish and human values of Tikun Olam to stand by while our Palestinian friends and classmates pay tuition to a university that is invested in the oppression of their communities and family members back home. Divestment is an action we can take to make our campus safe for the Palestinian community. While the opposition claims that this bill is divisive, we believe that taking a stance against these corporations will unite us.
We as Jews and as human beings stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and completely support the divestment effort to help end occupation in Palestine.