Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – the U of Arizona Example

[tweetmeme]  After posting about the divestment movement at Carleton University (if you have not seen the video they produced, I would highly suggest it), I was incredibly happy to hear that other schools are just as morally responsible.  A commenter noted that the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) have an extensive campaign for divestment in Motorola, Caterpillar and an Athletic company in addition to having a Students for Justice in Palestine Club (who apparently is bringing in Nir Rosen this week to speak about Afghanistan and Iraq – so go! U of A).  The commenter, Salaam, also sent this article from the U of A newspaper about the call for divestment at U of A in Caterpillar:

Among the concerned groups, the United Nations wrote to Caterpillar, which it has done more than once, pleading with the company to recognize and respond to the horrendous use of its products by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that include massive home demolitions, property destruction, crop devastation and unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians — as well as the death of American college student Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by a Caterpillar bulldozer during peacekeeping activities in the Gaza Strip in March 2003. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also written letters urging the company to respect not only international law but Caterpillar’s own internal code of conduct.

For those still in school, take U of A and Carleton as an example.  Don’t let your school invest in apartheid, murder and occupation.  If you don’t know what your school invests in, it is very easy to find out – just ask!  Schools are very upfront about their investments.  Indeed most are required to post them on their websites.

I would also like to point to a couple of articles about the divestment movement.  In this article, Stephen Lendman gives a history of the divestment movement.  And, as he points out, the movement (more commonly known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement – BDS) originated in  England in 2002 and was based on a similar campaign to end the apartheid policies in South Africa.

In support for the BDS campaign, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has called for the boycott of 2010 Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival.  PACBI also wrote a letter to Santana (the music artist) calling on him to cancel his plans to perform in Israel this summer.

Desert Peace points out that Bob Dylan – yeah the activist folk music hero – plans to preform in Israel in May 2010 despite calls for him to cancel the appearance.  He plans to participate in a show with the Pixies, Elton John, Metallica and Rod Stewart.  Fortunately the Dave Matthews Band has canceled to scheduled concerts in Tel Aviv (although it is unclear if the cancellation is due to logistical issues or political and moral issues).

It is the right of Israel to pursue policies that will ensure its security and – indeed – it is the right of any state to militarily go after those who try to do it harm.  But the actions of Israel in Palestine go beyond that right.  The murder and displacement of thousands of Palestinians is doing nothing for the security of Israel.  It is the duty of all who believe in human dignity and human rights to dissociate themselves from such unlawful activities.  Take action and force your school or organization to be on the side of truth, justice and freedom when tomorrow’s history books are printed.  Don’t stand idly while the schools and companies that represent you help continue the destruction of a people.

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  Where there is injustice, you must take action.

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