Viewpoint: In support of SAFE

BY STUDENTS ALLIED FOR FREEDOM AND EQUALITY

Published March 18, 2014

As students at the University of Michigan committed to the self-determination and humanity of all peoples, we, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, along with the undersigned organizations, call for our University to divest our tuition dollars from all corporations that facilitate violence against human beings. In this solidarity letter, we specifically call ethical attention to the systematic violation of Palestinian livelihood by the Israeli government.

Palestinian suffering is thoroughly documented by scholars, human rights activists, and world leaders. During the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes. Their land was confiscated as stipulated by Israel’s Absentee Property Law of 1950 and they were denied the right to ever return to their homes. Since then, Israel has further continued to expand its control over Palestinian lands, subjecting Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza to an oppressive military occupation.

In clear violation of the Geneva Convention, the Israeli government subsidizes the building of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. More than 500,000 settlers currently inhabit the West Bank in more than 100 illegal outposts. Meanwhile in Gaza, Israel maintains a cruel and devastating blockade that enacts collective punishment on all civilians by restricting their access to basic necessities including food and medicine, leaving 61 percent of Gazans food insecure.

Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are subject to a system of discriminatory, humiliating and arbitrary laws. They are forced to use separate bus systems, put up with checkpoints that physically disrupt their everyday lives while threatening their economic survival, and are routinely imprisoned without charge and due process. Besides the targeting of Palestinians, tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers in Israel are subjected to systematic violence through inhumane anti-Black policies, detaining migrants for up to three years without trial in open-air detention centers in the Negev desert.

International law clearly and unequivocally prohibits such abusive practices. Resolution 242 of the United Nations calls upon the Israeli government to withdraw from all Occupied Territories, while UN Resolution 194 affirms those Palestinians who were forcibly uprooted from their homes have the right to return to their homeland. In view of Israel’s impunity from its relentless violations, and as a powerful tool of non-violent resistance, Palestinian civil society is calling on people of conscious around the world to implement Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and human rights.

As students who want to advance social justice on and off our campus, we support Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS and demand that our University divest from all companies that unethically profit from and support the Israeli military occupation. We refuse to be unwillingly implicated in the oppression of others. We believe that any prospect for justice and peace begins with an unconditional respect for human life.

If your student organization would like to sign this letter in support of SAFE’s push for divestment at Tuesday’s CSG meeting, please contact bfounas@umich.edu.

Supported by,

Amnesty International
Arab Organizations at the University of Michigan
Arab Student Association
The Black Student Union
Chaldean American Student Association
CHAMPIONS: DETROIT
Coalition for Queer People of Color
Coalition for Tuition Equality
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)
Defend Affirmative Action Party (DAAP)
Detroit Partnership Directors
Doors of Opportunity (DOPP)
Egyptian Student Association
Here Earning a Destiny through Honesty, Eagerness, and Determination of Self (H.E.A.D.S.)
Hip Hop Congress
Human Rights Through Education
International Socialist Organization - Ann Arbor
Iraqi Student Association
Lebanese Student Association
Malaysian Student Association
Migrant and Immigrant Rights Advocacy (MIRA)
Muslim Students’ Association
Michigan Women of Color Collective
NOir Runway Fashion
Pakistani Student Association
Palestinian Student Association
School of Social Work People of Color Collective
Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc.
Sister2Sister
South Asian Awareness Network (SAAN)
Student Collaborative Against Islamophobia and Injustice
Student Union of Michigan
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) Local #17
Vietnamese Student Association
Wolverine Tutors
Yoni Ki Baat