Sunday, February 7, 2010

From Hampshire College: "First Anniversary of Divestment 2009!"

From Hampshire College Students for Justice in Palestine: "February 7th marks the anniversary of Hampshire College's divestment from the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, the first institution of higher education to wash its hands of the systematic exploitation of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state. To remember the occasion, Students for Justice in Palestine urges you to talk, inform and celebrate this historic event.


In just the last year, our movement has grown exponentially, with two of the largest financial institutions in Denmark announcing their divestment from Elbit Systems and Africa-Israel, as well as divestment campaigns going on at many other schools and institutions, like the University of Arizona and Carleton. As Ali Abunimah has pointed out, the movement must be getting something right when Tel Schechter of J Street said that he feared that it is "spreading like wildfire across the country."

In November of last year, student organizers representing over 40 campuses nation-wide came together for a BDS Conference held on Hampshire's campus to continue to carry the momentum of divestment last January. More than ever, activists throughout the United States and around the world are talking to each other, exchanging ideas, and continuing to find new ways to respond to the the 2005 call from over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

We hope, in the spirit of "remembrance," that this day is not simply memorialized in and of itself--for itself--but serves as an inspiration for current and future struggles against injustice, both transnationally and locally--other movements which demand our solidarity just as much as we ask for theirs. "I cannot dissociate myself from the fate reserved for my brother," said Fanon. "Every one of my acts commits me as a man. Every instance of my reticence, every instance of my cowardice, manifests the man."

Like Fanon, any memory of injustice is also simultaneously a call to action in the present. Sunday, February 7th, should be a day to imagine how to carefully and skillfully respond to the demands of Palestinian civil society, and to consider the role we have in our own communities, our own relationships, as people concerned with justice.

Divestment is a statement. But it's only a start."

Inspired by the work of Hampshire SJP and looking to start your own divestment campaign on campus? Check out our campus divestment resources by clicking here.

Hampshire SJP also suggests some other actions you can take:

-Changing your status on Facebook to something like, "I remember Hampshire College's Divestment from the Occupation." -Trending this post (permalink: here) and the facebook event we've created on twitter, under #divestment2009 or something similar -Read & educate yourself about the situation as it stands today at sites like: Electronic Intifada Jewbonics US Campaign to End the Occupation B'tselem -Talk to friends and family members--spread the word