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Letter of Support for UCSB Divestment

April 9th, 2014

University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) students are one again working to pass a resolution to divest from all companies that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid after their resolution failed in 2013. 

Dear Associated Students of the University of California at Santa Barbara, 

As a national coalition of more than 400 groups around the country that support freedom, justice and equality for all, we are writing to urge you to vote in support of "A Resolution To Divest From Companies that Profit From Apartheid." Passage of this resolution would honor and continue UCSB’s proud record of divestment from companies that profit from violent, oppressive, and discriminatory practices, including Apartheid in South Africa.  

Every day Palestinians suffer ongoing displacement, discrimination, and exile as a consequence of Israel’s abusive policies, which are abetted by companies such as those listed in this resolution. UCSB cannot accomplish its mission to advance the well-being of the world while simultaneously investing in violence. 

Campuses have been at the forefront of social justice struggles throughout history, even when doing so was unpopular. We cannot celebrate this legacy and simultaneously shy away from taking a stand on issues of today. 

As with all social justice movements, there will be those who oppose your efforts by accusing you of being divisive and pushing for the need to be neutral. The fact is that refusing to divest is in itself a political stance in support of human rights abuses. There is no “not taking a side” in this situation: there is the side of justice and the status quo of injustice. Those working for Palestinian rights are not the ones singling out Israel. It is the U.S. government that singles Israel out by funding its occupation and apartheid with billions of dollars in military aid annually. It is university student governments that single Israel out when they pass resolutions about fossil fuels, the prison industrial complex, and human rights abuses in other countries but decline to take up Israel’s very clearly documented violations of international law.

It is time to stand on the right side of history again by urging your university to divest from all companies unwilling to end their involvement in the brutal and ongoing violation of Palestinians’ basic rights. 

After the end of apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela made clear: “The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” 

In the past student activists played an important role in exposing Apartheid in South Africa. This is the example to follow now to support Palestinian human rights. 

Sincerely, 

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition working to end all U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid policies towards Palestinians. 

Endorsed by: 

  1. Albany-Corvallis Friends of Middle East Peace (OR)
  2. Benedictine University (Lisle, IL)
  3. Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition (PA)
  4. Citizens for Palestinian Self Determination (Lincoln, NE)
  5. CODEPINK Maine 
  6. Committee for Justice in Palestine at The Ohio State University
  7. Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism (NY)
  8. Committee for Palestinian Rights (Columbia, MD)
  9. CUNY Law Students for Justice in Palestine (NY)
  10. Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network 
  11. Free Palestine Movement
  12. Friends of Palestine Wisconsin 
  13. Friends of Sabeel- North America 
  14. Friends of Sabeel- Colorado 
  15. Interdenominational Advocates for Peace (Ann Arbor, MI)
  16. International Solidarity Movement- Northern California
  17. Jewish Voice for Peace- Bay Area Chapter
  18. John Jay College Student for Justice in Palestine (NY)
  19. Jewish Voice for Peace- Boston
  20. Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester (NY)
  21. Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land (OR)
  22. Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (WI)
  23. Maine BDS Coalition
  24. Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights
  25. Middle East Children's Alliance (Berkeley, CA) 
  26. Mideast Committee of Women Against Military Madness (Minneapolis, MN)
  27. Minnesota Break the Bonds Camp
  28. New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership 
  29. North Texas BDS
  30. Northwest BDS Coalition (Seattle, WA)
  31. Palestine-Israel Working Group of Nevada County (Grass Valley, CA)
  32. Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (Vienna, VA)
  33. PINK LADIES (Phoenix, AZ) 
  34. Red Wing Alliance for Peace (MN)
  35. Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College (NY)
  36. Students for Justice in Palestine at City College (NY)
  37. Students for Justice in Palestine at the College of Staten Island (NY)
  38. United Methodist Task Force on Peace with Justice in Palestine/Israel of UNY Conference (NY)
  39. United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force (Culver City, CA)
  40. Vancouver for Peace (WA)
  41. Voices for Palestine (Bryn Mawr, PA)
  42. Wespac Foundation (White Plains, NY)
  43. WI Middle East Lobby Group
PDF of letter here