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ACTION ALERT! Support Campus Victories As BDS Takes Off!

by Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
April 4th, 2013

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Times are changing. Something that once felt far out of reach for U.S. academic institutions is now getting frequent enough that sometimes it's hard to keep up! BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) victories are unfolding on campuses across the nation in response to extraordinary efforts by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and similar campus groups.

Irvine Divests
The UC Irvine Student Senate votes unanimously for divestment.

In the past five months alone, the student senates at three University of California (UC) campuses, including UC Irvine and UC San Diego, passed resolutions for divestment from companies involved in the Israeli occupation! All resolutions passed by wide margins or unanimously. If you're inspired by the University of California, check out this brand new Introduction to Palestine and BDS booklet that the UCLA SJP put together!

The third UC BDS resolution passed was at UC Riverside. Unfortunately, the Electronic Intifada reported today that the senate overturned the resolution following pressure from anti-BDS groups, but plans to reconsider the vote again next Wednesday.

ACTION ALERT! Click here to send an email to the UC Riverside Student Senate urging them to uphold the divestment resolution!

Two days after UC Irvine's victory announcement, Brown University's Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies, after years of engagement with the campus SJP, called on the Brown Corporation to consider divestment from companies involved in human rights violations in Palestine.

Are you a student interested in working towards a BDS victory on your campus? Apply to join the 2013 Summer BDS Institute for Student Leaders!

The five-day intensive program for BDS student organizers, facilitated by member groups American Friends Service Committee and Jewish Voice for Peace, is an amazing opportunity not to be missed! The application deadline is April 15th. [Facebook event page]

Each of these BDS breakthroughs comes on the shoulders of other campus divestment victories, including Evergreen State College, University of Massachusetts, Arizona State University, DePaul University, and of course Hampshire College. As students on each successful campus group will tell you, these wins are usually achieved only after many years of research, networking, skills-building, actions, and campaigning. Many groups are paving the way today for future BDS victories with such events and activities now.

Just last month, groups around the world observed both Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) and Palestinian Land Day with international coordinated actions. Dallas, TX; Seattle, WA; and San Francisco, CA were among those U.S. cities that commemorated Palestinian Land Day. More than two dozen U.S. cities participated in this year's IAW, representing more than 20% of all IAW participating cities worldwide! Congratulations to the dozens of member groups and others who took part, in cities including Birmingham, AL; Chapel Hill and Durham, NC; Denton, Austin, and Houston, TX; Kent, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Ithaca and New York City, NY; Tallahassee, FL; Boston, MA; and more than a dozen others!

Activities on campuses and beyond included building mock walls and mock checkpoints, bus stop rallies in solidarity with the Palestinian Freedom Riders, cultural events, political prisoner solidarity hunger strikes, teach-ins, poetry readings, concerts, BDS trainings, op-eds, film screenings, educational events countering pinkwashing, panel discussions connecting the struggle for justice in Palestine with other indigenous struggles, and much, much more!

You can see photos on the USA-IAW Tumblr, and visit USA-IAW on Facebook and on Twitter as report backs come in!

All in all, member groups and other allies organized well over 100 activities, building onto the energy of recent victories and illustrating the extraordinary growth of the movement to end U.S. institutional support for Israel's occupation and apartheid policies, and to promote freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians. Our movement is making incredible strides -- check out this list of 2012 BDS victories worldwide compiled by Electronic Intifada -- thanks to the terrific work of member groups and others.

The stronger the movement gets the more opposition it will face and the more we must support one another.
Now is one of those times.

Click here to support divestment at UC Riverside today!

P.S. Excited to network with students and others working on BDS campaigns? SAVE THE DATE for our 12th Annual National Organizers' Conference September 20-22, 2013 at George Mason University in Arlington, VA! Hope to see you there!

P.P.S. If you already signed the petition to Ben & Jerry's, take the next step this Tuesday, April 9, by leafleting at a Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop near you on the annual Free Cone Day. Ice cream may be free that day, but Palestine is NOT. Click here to learn how you can take part in this fun day of action!