Protesters outnumbered students on a blustery Martin Luther King Day as the New York Cornell-Technion Partnership held its first day of classes at Google’s Chelsea offices in Manhattan.
The 25 New Yorkers leafleting against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (contrasting the eight students inside, according to the New York Times), denounced Google’s gift of free office space to the Partnership, as well as the $100 million in funds and $300 million in real estate given by the City of New York to the questionably fast-tracked venture.
Protesters also gathered signatures on a petition demanding an end to private and public support for the Partnership (online at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-technion-in-nyc.html).
The campaign against the Cornell-Technion Partnership is part of a global effort in support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against institutions doing business with apartheid Israel.
Regular classes will be held at the Google offices until the main campus opens on Roosevelt Island in 2017. Among those handing out flyers and talking to workers and students from the Google building as well as Chelsea residents were several Cornell University students outraged at the Partnership’s violation of Cornell’s own rules for consulting staff and faculty over such business deals.
What’s more, Cornell, its partners, and the media have failed to report that Technion is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians, specifically by designing military weapons and developing technologies that are used to drive Palestinians off their land, suppress demonstrations for their rights, and carry out attacks against people in Lebanon, Gaza, and elsewhere. For these reasons, Technion is directly implicated in war crimes. Furthermore, Technion practices institutional discrimination against Palestinian students by severely restricting their freedom of speech and assembly, and rewarding Jewish students who, unlike most Palestinians, perform compulsory military service in Israel. This is in direct contrast to Cornell University’s founding values of universalism and inclusion embodied in the university’s motto “any person any study.”
NYACT has also denounced the callous disregard for the health, safety and housing needs of Roosevelt Island residents. As construction begins for the eventual permanent Partnership site on the Island, homes are being torn down, and patients are being kicked out of the City hospital system’s Coler-Goldwater long-term care facilities. New Yorkers with serious disabilities and life-threatening medical conditions are being displaced by the City in deference to the Partnership. NYACT has attended several Roosevelt Island community meetings to forge an alliance with residents, patients and healthcare workers whose lives are being disrupted or even jeopardized by Cornell and Technion.
NYACT and supporters will host a regular leafleting vigil every other Tuesday starting January 29th, from 5-7pm, at the Google offices,
111 Eighth Ave (at 15th St), New York City
For more information:
New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)