FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2015
San Jose State University Students Pass Resolution to Divest from Corporations that profit from the Israeli Occupation.
On Wednesday November 18, 2015, San Jose State University became the first California State University to pass a student government resolution to divest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This was achieved in a 10-5-0 vote (10 yes, 5 no, 0 abstained)
During the hearing, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Black Student Union, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan), and other student organizations stood in solidarity with the black students of the University of
Missouri by raising their fists in the black power salute during the pledge of allegiance.
The Associated Students resolution calls on the Board of Directors of the Tower Foundation to remove San Jose State University’s holdings from four companies that play an active role in the human rights violations committed by the Israeli Government in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This resolution is endorsed by 28 organizations, the vast majority of which are student organizations of diverse backgrounds. The first corporation mentioned in the resolution, Caterpillar, is responsible for supplying Israel with D9 bulldozers that are used by the governing regime to demolish Palestinian homes and violate human in rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
The second corporation mentioned in the resolution, Motorola Solutions, services the “MotoEagle Surveillance System” which is used by Israel to control Palestinian movement in vast “special security zones” which surround illegal Israeli settlements. Israel bans Palestinians from entering these areas, even if Palestinians own them, which in effect, confiscates land from Palestinians. Israel has implemented this system in over 20 illegal Israeli settlements, and has implemented this system at the illegal separation wall.
The third corporation mentioned in the resolution, Hewlett Packard, owns EDS Israel; which is a company that provides the Israeli ministry of defense with the Basel system. The Basel System is an automated biometric access control system, which includes a permit system for Palestinian workers, with hand and facial recognition, installed in checkpoints in the Occupied West Bank.
The fourth corporation mentioned, G4S, provides security services to businesses in the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. G4S has also provided full body scanners and luggage scanning equipment to various checkpoints throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The checkpoints in Qalandia and Bethlehem help sustain the illegal Israeli Annexation of Jerusalem.
The Associated Students of San Jose State University demands that the Board of Directors of the Tower Foundation end its complicity in human rights violations by divesting from the above companies that are complicit in the Israeli occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories. Students for Justice in Palestine would like to thank interim President Susan Martin and the rest of the San Jose State University administration for acknowledging the concerns of the student body and respecting the student’s right to freedom of speech and the discussion of thought provoking issues on the San Jose State University campus.
Students for Justice in Palestine, San Jose State University
For Immediate Release – October 23 2015
Member of Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Santa Barbara Physically Assaulted While Protesting for Palestinian Lives Lost
An assailant physically assaulted a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UC Santa Barbara on October 15th, 2015, during an SJP protest for the International Day of Action for Palestine.
The assailant, who appeared to be another student, approached SJP members including Daniel Mogtaderi to engage in debate about a Palestinian child who was widely viewed on Youtube bleeding in the street while Israelis screamed epithets at him. Mogtaderi and the assailant argued back and forth until the assailant learned that Mogtaderi was recording the conversation. At that point he forcibly took hold of the phone, held on to the phone for some time, and shoved Mogtaderi two times before returning the phone and leaving the scene. Multiple witnesses observed the assault. Video of the conversation preceding the assault and its aftermath is available here.
SJP member and witness Edan Mehretu explained, “Our protest was peaceful, with signs made by students bringing to light the oppressive actions by the Israeli government taking place in occupied Palestine over the past month that has resulted in the deaths of ten children as young as two and thirteen years old. We were holding our signs, and talking with students, some who agreed with our message, and some who did not agree. While we were peaceful, we were met with blatant racism and violence.”
The SJP protest also called for justice for Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian American community member from Chicago who in 1969 was forced to give a false confession after Israeli officials raped her and tortured her for twenty days. The U.S. government recently prosecuted Odeh for immigration fraud and her case is currently under appeal.
Mogtaderi explained, “Before he assaulted me, the assailant was arguing that the killing and torture of Palestinian children is justified. When he realized I was recording our conversation, he slapped the phone out of my hand. I reached for the phone back, and he shoved me hard multiple times. Eventually the crowd convinced him to return the phone and he left. I went to health services to be treated for injuries to my back. It was disturbing.”
SJP strongly condemns acts of violence and the racist remarks and we expect no less than for UC Santa Barbara’s Administration to do the same.
This act of physical intimidation is not an isolated incident, but part of a long history of attempts to stifle the dissent of Palestine supporters – at our university and around the nation. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights recently published a report, The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: a Movement Under Attack in the U.S., showing that they responded to nearly 300 incidents of suppression over the course of 18 months. Eighty-five percent of these incidents occurred on campuses, ranging from harassment, false accusations, baseless legal threats and outright censorship. At UC Berkeley in 2013, a student holding flyers that read “Israel is an apartheid state” was punched in the face and knocked to the ground. At UC Santa Barbara, SJP students have been threatened, spit at, and now assaulted by Israel advocates on campus.
For Immediate Release
SJP-West Welcomes University of California Regents’ Decision to Not Consider Harmful Re-Definition of Anti-Semitism
Wednesday July 22, 2015
The UC Regents will not be considering adoption of the State Department definition of anti-Semitism at its meeting today, after an outcry from students, graduate student workers, Jewish community members, and civil rights organizations. The UC Office of the President (UCOP) announced instead that, “…the Board of Regents will consider at its September meeting a statement of principles against intolerance, including, but not limited to, anti-Semitism and other types of intolerance.”
As SJP-West illustrated in its June letter to UC President Janet Napolitano, the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism dangerously conflates anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, mis-representing an issue of human rights as an ethno-religious matter. The Los Angeles Times recently editorialized in agreement with this position, highlighting the ways in which the State Department’s “overly broad and constitutionally dubious” definition would lead to confusion and conflation of pro-Palestinian speech with bigotry. While we reiterate our opposition to anti-Semitism as well as all forms of racism and bigotry, we believe that the State Department’s definition, if adopted, would ultimately harm not just efforts to advocate for Palestinian rights but also efforts to oppose anti-Semitism.
In addition to petitions and legal letters sent by SJP-West and other organizations, on July 7, 2015 SJP West, UAW-2865 (the labor union for Graduate Students and Workers of the UC schools), Jewish Voice for Peace, and various civil rights organizations along with UC students, faculty, and staff gathered in Oakland to protest outside the UC Office of the President. These groups asserted their disapproval of the possible adoption of the State Department definition of anti-Semitism at today’s meeting.
Robert Gardner, a current student at UCLA, expresses extreme relief at the fact that the UC Regents will not adopt this definition – for now. He explains, “Students shouldn’t be stigmatized as bigots because we oppose well documented abuses practiced against Palestinians by the Israeli government. This decision to drop consideration of the State Department definition is an important step because it shows that the Regents understand that our First Amendment right to engage in debate on campus is imperative to the integrity of the UC system. Moreover, it proves that when students come together and make their voices heard, we are able to overcome the pressures of powerful outside forces who seek to stifle and censor criticism of the Israeli government.”
Students report that administrators who fear controversy over Israel and Palestine try to restrict their activity. In the first four months of 2015 alone, Palestine Legal documented 60 cases of false accusations of anti-Semitism that were in fact incidents where students or faculty criticized policies of Israel. Statements made to the Jewish Daily Forward by one of the principal advocates of the State Department’s re-definition indicates that the definition is seen by some pro-Israel advocates as applying to nearly all forms of pro-Palestinian student speech that take place on UC campuses today.
Sophia Shalabi, a student at UC Irvine, notes that, “…refraining from the implementation of a definition that is strategically meant to silence Pro-Palestinian activists will allow students to continue advocating for the Palestinian voice that has been ignored by our administration.” Gardner predicted, “As we move forward within the upcoming academic year, Palestinian rights activists hope to engage in critical debate and continue to educate our fellow students about the Palestinian plight. This will now be a little bit easier.”
SJP-West is a coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine chapters across California. Find more at www.sjpwest.org.
On the evening of Thursday May 28th, the Associated Students of the University of California, Davis voted once again to pass a divestment resolution against companies that assist in the ongoing human rights violations in Palestine. Much like the passage of Senate Resolution 9 in January of this year, an overwhelming majority of senators voted ‘yes’ in support of SR 17 with a final vote count of 10-0-2.
Although SR 9 was deemed ‘unconstitutional’ by the UC Davis Campus Court back in February, the Divestment Community views this second victory as further affirmation of student concern in their university’s complicity with the Israeli occupation. The two resolutions are nearly identical with the exception that SR 17 includes direct ties to the resolution’s effects on ‘student welfare,’ which the Court felt was missing in SR 9. The almost undebated passage of SR 17 reflects the progress of student politics and ethics here at UC Davis over the past 3 years, while also keeping alive the tradition of students taking a stance on political issues.
This fight for justice has proved long and challenging as is every important issue. However, the community growth and dialogue that has emerged from recognizing that oppressed communities share the same struggles will always outweigh the adversities we have and will continue to face. Our work is far from complete, but we take this moment to celebrate this monumental step towards ending the University of California’s irresponsible and immoral investments.
We thank you for your unwavering support and your commitment to promoting justice everywhere.
Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis
We, Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as countless individuals from across the California Community College system, have banded together from all walks of life. We are a diverse coalition that consist of all people of every color, nationality, religion, etc. Despite these differences, what brings us together is our common human identity. That’s why we are greatly concerned about the human rights abuses in Palestine, and the thought that our college system could be complicit in such gross violations is unbearable.
For almost half a century, the Palestinian territories have been brutally occupied, which eventually resulted in the subjugation of millions of people, constructed on racial superiority and an illegal colonial network. The occupation, as documented by numerous human rights groups and multinational entities, results in some of the most horrid conditions. Conditions such as, but not limited to: water deprivation, segregation, racially-based legal systems, systematic home demolitions, and the restrictions against the freedom of movement, have resulted in one of the worst cases of systematic oppression gone largely unchecked. This system of abuse, as documented by many reputable organizations, including the United Nations, directly parallels the former South African system of Apartheid. This unjust system of human rights abuses has created an urgency amongst students throughout the community college system to take action in order to hold the Board of Governors accountable for any investments that profit from these abuses.
As a result, we, the students of the California Community College system, call upon the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) to stand in solidarity with other California and National Universities by passing a resolution to divest from companies that profit from human rights abuses in Palestine. It is imperative that the college system examine it’s financial holdings to be certain that students aren’t paying their tuition dollars that in turn, is invested into certain companies that directly profit from the abuses in Palestine. Companies such as RE/MAX directly profit from the selling of segregated housing, and these housing units are illegal under international law. Others, such as Veolia, also profit from segregated systems such as roads and bus-lines. Lastly, companies such as Caterpillar Inc. profit from the systematic and discriminatory bulldozing of Palestinian homes, rendering thousands homeless.
As students of the community college system, we have an obligation to stand for justice and make a difference. The issues of the world are our issues, for we are the future leaders of the free world and retain a common human element that’s unlimited. Divestment from companies that profit from human rights abuses is nothing new. It is directly modeled after divestment from companies that profited from apartheid in South Africa, where Blacks fell victim to a system of colonialism, segregation, and White supremacy. Back then, millions of students in the State and across the Nation stood up and deplored investments in companies that profited from such a system. Now, students are rallying once again to ensure that our colleges are not invested into companies that are once again profiting from human rights abuses. We urge that the SSCCC, that has the privilege of representing all 112 of California’s community colleges, to stand on the right side of history by urging divestment from companies that profit from human rights abuses in Palestine—in which our tuition dollars is invested, and to send a message that human rights abuses are unacceptable no matter where they may be.
Dear UC Davis Community members,
A trial by the UC Davis Campus Court was held on 2/18 regarding the legality of Senate Resolution 9 under the constitution of ASUCD. This student court ruled in favor of nullifying the resolution, which was a call for UC Davis to divest from corporations that are complicit with Israel’s human rights violations against the Palestinian people, on the grounds that the resolution didn’t directly affect “student welfare” on campus and was “primarily a political document.”
Yet SR #9, deemed too “political” for the ASUCD to vote on, is similar to past resolutions including the call to divest from Apartheid South Africa and Sudan. Thus this court ruling was highly selective and politically biased in targeting only divestment from Israel. It also suggests that the welfare of UC Davis students who are Palestinian and their families who are displaced from Israel or targeted by Israeli violence and restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom to education, and freedom to live does not matter. Palestinian Lives Matter!
The verdict attempts to silence not only pro-Palestine activists on campus who are personally affected by UC Davis’s complicity with Israeli occupation and apartheid, but also future student activists who organize grassroots movements and participate in ASUCD’s democratic process. It is a tactic of campus ‘lawfare’ similar to that used by national Zionist groups to undermine the BDS movement. But this procedural maneuver cannot change the clear student consensus in favor of divestment for human rights.
Students for Justice in Palestine considers this court ruling invalid because it would infringe on free speech rights to disallow “political” statements and because the ruling attempts to override the democratic process that operates in ASUCD. This discriminatory and repressive verdict will not be accepted by the SJP community, and there will be an organized response to this injustice. The fact is that the divestment movement has won at UC Davis, and we and the Palestinian rights movement stand by this victory.
STANFORD, Calif. – The Undergraduate Senate of Stanford University just voted on a resolution to divest from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The resolution, entitled A Resolution to Divest from Companies Violating Human Rights in Occupied Palestine, called on the University to divest from multinational corporations facilitating human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian territories. The vote followed a four-hour long Senate hearing and ended with 9 senators voting yes, 5 voting no, and one abstention.
“Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine commends university senators who voted in favor of the divestment resolution and aptly represented their constituents,” said EKela Autry. “As members of Stanford community, we are proud to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We resolve to continue our commitment to justice as a vehicle for peace. No rest ‘till we divest!”
“It was a victory that a majority of the Senate supported the text of the resolution,” said Manny Thompson. “This is indicative that the conversation around the occupation of Palestine is shifting, something we’ve witnessed in our monthss of campus work.”
The resolution focused on multinational corporations and identifies multiple actors as being complicit in the violations against Palestinians living under occupation, including the governments of Israel, Egypt, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority. The resolution stated that the Undergraduate Senate is not connected to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The resolution affirmed both Israelis and Palestinians’ rights to life, safety, and self-determination.
“The senators’ internal discussion of the resolution preceding the vote was incredibly calm and reasoned,” said Sid Patel. “We applaud our senators for having such a nuanced conversation, recognizing that this issue is not black and white, and we appreciate that they took into account the perspectives of the entire community.”
On Tuesday evening, over 400 hundred Stanford students and affiliates gathered in the Tresidder Oak Room to witness the Undergraduate Senate vote on the divestment resolution brought forth by the Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine (SOOP) coalition. The diverse coalition consists of 19 student groups including the Black Student Union, MEChA, and Stanford Students for Queer Liberation. The resolution called on the University to evaluate its investments and divest from companies fitting the following criteria:
- Maintaining the illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation, in particular settlements and separation wall.
- Facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.
- Facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces.
Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine came together in pursuit of selective divestment as an effective response to the call from Palestinian society for university students to exert pressure for an end to the violations of their basic human rights. Over the course of six weeks SOOP’s campaign gathered immense student support; over 1600 students signed SOOP’s petition and about 400 supporters gathered at Tuesday’s hearing.
Student organizers point to the growing number of student associations that have chosen to take a step towards ending their institutions’ complicity in the violation of Palestinian human rights. On Sunday, the University of California Student Association System voted in favor of two divestment resolutions calling for an end to the system’s investments in Palestinian suffering.
“The campus movement for Stanford to divest from companies complicit in the suffering of the Palestinian people will continue,” said Autry. “As long as Palestine is occupied, our work must continue.”
6th UC to officially pass divestment, 7th campus to hold a majority vote. Davis joins UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and UC Irvine as officially supporting divestment.
“At tonight’s (Jan. 29) ASUCD senate meeting, Senate Resolution (SR) #9 passed with an 8-2-2 vote. The text of SR #9 calls for the University of California (UC) Board of Regents to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, violating both international humanitarian law and international human rights.” ASUCD voted down a similar resolution this past May.
With the passing vote, ASUCD formally recommends the UC Regents to divest from American companies Caterpillar Inc., G4S PLC, Veolia Environment and Raytheon.
Over 550 UC Davis students, staff and faculty members attended the senate meeting, which was called to order at 8:57 p.m. in the Sciences Lecture Hall 123.” Read more at The Aggie.