Israeli Peace Groups in Support of UC Berkeley Divest Bill
April 12, 2010 Dear Members of UC Berkeley’s ASUC: We, Israeli organizations, comprised of Jewish and Palestinian women and men, dedicated to building a just peace, promoting human and civil rights in Israel/Palestine, join the call made to the UC Berkeley Senate to overturn the veto of Senate Bill 118A and to stop investing in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. It has come to our attention that the UC Berkeley student Senate voted 16 to 4 to divest from two American companies, General Electric and United Technologies, whose activities materially and militarily support and maintain the Israeli occupation, in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. We understand that the vote also advises divestment of ASUC and UC assets from companies that a) provide military support for the occupation of the Palestinian territories, b) facilitate the building or maintenance of the illegal apartheid wall or the demolition of Palestinian homes, or c) facilitate the building, maintenance, or economic development of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. We see UC’s investments in these corporations as contradictory to UC Berkeley’s commitment to international law, and the university community’s long standing commitment to peace, justice and democracy.
As Jewish and Palestinian Israelis, we know better than most the long standing injustices of the occupation. On a daily basis we confront human rights abuses committed by the Israeli government such as land theft, blockades on civilian food supplies, systematic arrests and indefinite detentions of nonviolent demonstrators, and targeted destruction of Palestinian farm land and homes. Far from serving to protect Israelis, these actions serve the interests of an Israeli extremist agenda which dehumanizes Palestinians, fuels rampant racism, and jeopardizes the safety of both Palestinians and Israeli citizens.Further, as Israelis, we reject the unsubstantiated argument that divestment delegitimizes Israel. We believe that the opposite is the case. Just as various civil rights movements served to strengthen and improve American society, our human rights groups are an integral part of the movement here which seeks to strengthen Israel/Palestine by making it a place for all of its citizens. Apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow laws in the United States did not end because of silence. They ended because thousands, including students like you, took action to say NO. Like South Africa and the United States, we need citizens around the world to stand up and say NO to occupation, apartheid and oppression. We recognize that members of the US Congress are far behind most US citizens who recognize that Israel’s illegal behaviors fuel anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish and anti-American hatred throughout the world. That is why, for the good of Israel, for the good of the United States, outside pressure from principled people, including students is needed to reverse the 43 year policy of illegal occupation. Israel is unlike other countries that violate international law--, the US government does not hold Israel accountable for its illegal actions, making efforts like divestment necessary in encouraging corporate actors to do the right thing and in communicating to our political leadership that young people are disenchanted with US support for Israel's occupation. We therefore urge ASUC to overturn the presidential veto and to remove all corporations that support and maintain the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories from its investment portfolio. Do it for a better Palestinian future. Do it for a better Israeli future. Coalition of Women for Peace http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english Shministim http://december18th.org/ Yesh Gvul http://www.yeshgvul.org.il/index_e.asp Hithabrut - Tarabut http://www.tarabut.info/he/home/ Union of Progressive Women (Affiliated with the National Progressive Assembly party - Tajamoa) http://www.tajamoa.org/?mod=arch&ID=38 The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). http://icahd.org/eng/ New Profile - Movement for the Civilization of Israeli Society http://www.newprofile.org/english/ BOYCOTT Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Israeli) http://www.boycottisrael.info/ Gush Shalom: Tel-Aviv - April 10, 2010 Dear Members of UC Berkeley’s ASUC, We, hereby join the call to stop "investing in the occupation". It has come to our attention that the UC Berkeley student Senate voted 16 to 4 to divest from two American companies, General Electric and United Technologies, because of their activities helping to maintain Israeli military rule in the territories occupied since 1967. We see this as a vote for Israeli-Palestinian peace, for the upholding of human rights and a stricter implementation of international law and thus as fitting with a university community committed to peace, justice and democracy. As longtime Israeli peace activists, we know the injustices of the occupation and we have confronted them for decades. We did that out of solidarity with the occupied Palestinians but also out of enlightened self- interest. The future of Israel and its citizens is not served by land robbery and oppressing another people. As long as Palestinians are oppressed and don't have their own state, the future of the state of Israel is at risk; there is no viable alternative to peace with the neighbors and integration in the region. We therefore urge ASUC to overturn the presidential veto - for a better future for Israelis, Palestinians and the entire world. On behalf of Gush Shalom, Adam Keller pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 +972-3-5565804 firstname.lastname@example.org