by Students for Palestinian Equal Rights
The campaign to end Stanford’s complicity in violations of international law and abuses of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is coming to a historic juncture.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 PM in Nitery 209 the ASSU Undergraduate Senate is voting on a bill that calls on the Board of Trustees to specifically reevaluate its investments in companies that violate international law and abuse human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
In the last few days we have received statements of support for our selective divestment campaign and for the bill in front of the ASSU UG Senate from some of the most prominent social justice advocates and heroes hailing from all corners of the world: from Northern Ireland to South Africa, Palestine to the Bay Area!
We have been deeply humbled by this outpouring of international support and are really excited to share with the rest of campus. Below are excerpts from each of the dozen or so statements we’ve already received. Please read these very powerful statements and spread the word.
If you feel so moved, we hope you’ll join these great visionaries in your explicit support for Tuesday’s divestment bill and sign our divestment petition, share these statements with your friends and peers, and come to the vote on Tuesday at the Senate meeting in support of divestment!
Supporting the divestment bill before you on Tuesday is no radical act, it is simply heeding a moral compass put forward by Henry David Thoreau, an American Icon and philosopher, who said “What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong, which I condemn.” As an age old creed adopted by Stanford Alumni Larry Page and Sergey Brin for Google says: “Do no evil.” Associated Students: Do not allow yourselves and your university to lend itself and its money to the pillage of land, the deprivation of dignity, and the destruction of life in Palestine. Stanford is better than that.
No matter what detractors may allege, students pushing for divestment are doing the right thing. They are doing the moral thing. They are doing that which is incumbent on them 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.
I salute Stanford University students who are striving to end their own university’s complicity in Israel’s human rights violations through divesting from companies that are deeply involved in those violations. I stand with you and believe we shall overcome all injustice and all inequality, as we have done before.
It is reassuring to know that our belief in, and work for, Justice for the Palestinian people stems from our innate sense of our own integrity and worth; that we are paying forward, in a way, and honoring, our own inheritance of freedom from destructiveness and devastation.
‘We The People’, if I may adopt that conceit, thank the authors for their forthright and considered plea to you, to vote to encourage the Board of Trustees of Stanford University, to stand by the promises enshrined in The Constitution of The United States of America, and repeated at the founding of this University, that ‘all men have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. These are the rights being denied, at this moment, to the Palestinian people.
More and more communities around the world have realised it and have joined in these nonviolent and successful campaigns to advance peace and reconciliation on the ground. Today the students, staff and trustees of the University of Stanford are asked to make this moral decision: do you want to be counted with those who could look back in time and be proud and relieved in the stance they have taken, or be sorry for being passive, apathetic or hesitant?
As the rights abuses of the Occupation and construction of illegal Jewish-only Settlements continue to be built, the viability of a Palestinian State for the millions that live there looks increasingly doubtful. With no right to protest, no right to a fair trial and subjection to constant oppression from armed military forces, it is up to the rest of the World, to as you all did for us in South Africa, stand together in solidarity with the Palestinian people and denounce this Occupation of Apartheid principles and policies.
There must be consequences for regimes and states that choose policies of violence and discrimination. The divestment resolution is the right thing to do and those who vote for it will always remember that they stood for justice and for what is right.
I encourage you to pass this resolution and to align yourself with the great men like Desmond Tutu, and women like Mairead Maguire who support it.
Unlike the campaign for cultural and academic boycott of Israel, which is the subject of on-going discussion and debate, the call for divestment is far more straightforward. The motion aims to end a set of investments in companies which are demonstrably engaged in profiting from policies that involve human rights violations, unlawful discrimination, and which contribute to the perpetuation of injustice against the Palestinian people (house demolitions, the separation barrier/wall ruled illegal by the International Criminal Court, the building of settlements, the creation of roads and infrastructure designed exclusively for one section of the population). Such investments are profoundly at odds with the principles of ethical oversight which the University declares to be paramount in relation to its endowment, and can only damage the University’s national and international status.
I have been studying the issue of divestment from several angles and have come to the conclusion that there is no reason to continue to invest in corporations or other entities that directly or indirectly support unjust and illegal activities, and that, when presented with a choice, decide to help perpetuate unjust living conditions.
I understand that this is an extremely divisive issue, but that does not give the UG Senate a reason to avoid it. If anything, the divisiveness of the issue points to its importance and gives the senate more of an impetus and a responsibility to do something about it. The passage of this bill and the consequent campaign to urge the Board of Trustees will be one of the most tangible things the undergraduate senate can do this year to have a lasting impact on Stanford students, the legacy of Stanford University, and the lives of human beings half a world away. Being pro- divestment in absolutely no way equates with being anti-Israel. It is a question of being either for human dignity or indifferent to human suffering.
The bill…proposes carefully targeted and judicious action to eliminate Stanford’s support, through its investment portfolio, of manifest violations of human rights by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories. These human rights violations are well-documented and have been denounced by the UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and many international, Palestinian, and Israeli human rights organizations… I support the bill and urge others to lend their support as well.
I am writing to support the call for divestment by the Students for Palestinian Equal Rights and their allies at Stanford University…
In love and solidarity!
Students for Palestinian Equal Rights is a vibrant activist organization at Stanford University. We organize educational events, and to campaign for the University’s divestment from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. To learn more about us please visit sper.stanford.edu, or contact stanfordsper at gmail dot com.