Apr 19

An Open Letter to the University of Washington School of Law:

An Open Letter to the University of Washington School of Law:

We write to express our deep disappointment in the decision to allow Kenneth Marcus, sponsored by the Brandeis Center and StandWithUs Northwest, to share his work with students under the banner of “social justice.” Despite emphatic objections from students, local community members, and professional colleagues, the UW Law School has continued to extend institutional support for Marcus’ event by sponsoring and advertising it as part of the school’s Social Justice Tuesdays series.

We also write to inform the larger UW community of these organizations’ histories of collaborating with explicitly racist and anti-gay organizations; their notoriety for doxing, harassing, and intimidating activists and academics who oppose their rhetoric; their campaign in academic settings to label both political criticism of Israel and Palestinian rights activism as anti-Semitic; and the ways in which this campaign propagates Islamophobia and Anti-Arab racism.

In response to the local National Lawyers Guild’s request that the University not afford Kenneth Marcus a platform as part of social justice programming, Dean Testy wrote, “We are deeply committed to equity and inclusion at UW and to modeling respectful dialogue on difficult issues.” We are disheartened that Dean Testy has failed to understand how the work of Kenneth Marcus and his supporting organizations undermines the basic principles of equity and inclusion. Instead, these organizations work to censor speech on campuses across the country, suppress academic diversity, marginalize Arab and Muslim students, and elide the political and ideological diversity within the Jewish community.

Combatting anti-Semitism is necessary work. This work must be done from an anti-racist perspective and with a commitment to addressing the close relationship between Zionism, Islamophobia, and anti-Black racism. As we address anti-Semitism, we must do so with an understanding of interconnected forms of oppression. A campaign that insists the oppression of Palestinian people is necessary is antithetical to social justice. We refuse to accept their co-optation of our movements’ language and their infiltration into our movements’ spaces.

Kenneth Marcus and the campaign to redefine anti-Semitism

The campaign to enforce a particular definition of anti-Semitism on college campuses is funded in part by the Israeli Government and is a backlash to the gains of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement around the world. Kenneth Marcus seeks to blur the important distinction between criticism of Israel as a nation-state and anti-Semitism. Marcus argues that speech, academic work, and Palestinian rights activism that is critical of the Israeli occupation creates a “hostile” and “anti-Semitic” environment for Jewish students. He has filed Title VI complaints against universities across the country to that effect, threatening schools’ federal funding. University administrators are pressured to shut down student organizations, fire faculty, cancel courses, and suppress scholarship and BDS organizing.

Twenty-three student organizations in California wrote an open letter naming Kenneth Marcus and his campaign on college campuses “one of the biggest threats to Arab and Muslim students’ civil rights on campuses today.” Marcus repeatedly accuses Muslim student organizations and student organizations supportive of Palestinian human rights that they are anti-Semitic, fund terrorism, and have ties to terrorist groups. Even though these allegations continue to be dismissed by the Department of Education for lack of evidence, Marcus’ statements put Muslim students at heightened risk of Islamophobic violence and feed cultures of racism on campuses.

It is crucial to critically engage with contemporary forms of anti-Semitism, but Kenneth Marcus’ redefinition disproportionately harms our communities of color, social justice advocates, and multicultural alliances. It is not lost on us that while StandWithUs and the Brandeis Center seek to “protect” Jewish students from speech that is critical of Israel, they celebrate their working relationship with groups like Christians United for Israel (led by the notoriously homophobic and racist pastor John Hagee) and the David Horowtiz Freedom Center (coined the “godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement,” David Horowitz has also argued that African Americans “benefitted” from and owed “gratitude” for the “gifts” of slavery). It is ironic then that while StandWithUs and the Brandeis Center sponsor massive pinkwashing campaigns in order to vilify Palestinian people and represent Israel as a progressive safe haven for queers, they will work with unapologetically anti-gay organizations in the US.

Social justice: resisting Islamophobia, Anti-Arab racism, and pinkwashing

The University of Washington School of Law fails its mission to support academic diversity, equity, and inclusion when they create a venue, in the name of “social justice” no less, for organizations that contribute to an educational environment that threatens the presence and participation of Muslim, Arab, and queer students. In a movement for social justice, there is no place for agendas that advance racism, Islamophobia, or homophobia. The community upset over Kenneth Marcus’s event should not be misunderstood as a political disagreement concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather grief and frustration that a space reserved for social justice work allowed itself to become a platform for hateful propaganda.

 

Signed,

 

Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle

Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

University of Washington Black Law Student Association (BLSA)

Law Students Working Against Institutionalized Racism (LSWAIR)

Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project, UW Law

National Lawyers Guild, UW Law Chapter

 

Academics

 

Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and

the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley.

Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley

Alice Rothchild, MD Harvard Medical School

Dean Spade, Professor, Seattle University School of Law

Dan Berger, Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW

Bothell

Jen Self, LICSW PhD, Director ~ Q Center & Affiliate Faculty School of Social Work &

GWSS, University of Washington

Theresa Ronquillo, UW Center for Teaching and Learning

Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University

Chandan Reddy, Associate Professor of English and Gender, Women and Sexuality

Studies, University of Washington

Amy Hagopian, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Washington

Zachary Lockman, Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, History, New York

University; Jewish community member

Cristina Malcolmson, Professor of English, Bates College

James C. Faris, Director Emeritus, Univ of Connecticut Program in Middle East

Languages and Area Studies

Joseph Levine, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sally Guttmacher, Professor of Global Public Health, Director, Public Health Masters Program, NYU

Morantz-Sanchez, Professor of History, University of Michigan

Lee Medovoi, Jewish community member, Professor of English, University of Arizona

Leslie Patrick, Bucknell University

Anonymous, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Berkeley

David Chadwick, Professor of Sustainable Land Use Systems, Bangor University

Talcott Broadhead, MSW, Faculty SPSCC, Jewish community Member

Newell Gough III, Emeritus, Boise State University

Jewish community member, Chancellor Emerita Academy of American Poets

Donna M. Joss, Professor Emeritus, Worcester University

Caren Kaplan, Professor, American Studies, UC Davis

Peter Bohmer, Professor, Economics, The Evergreen State College, Jewish community member

Marie Kennedy, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston

Richard Waller, Emeritus Professor, History, International Relations, Bucknell University

Ivan Huber, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Ken Ross, Prof. Emeritus of Political Science, Adrian College, Michigan

Ron Smith, Assistant Professor Bucknell University, UW Geography PhD

Jason Schulman, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Political Science, Lehman College, CUNY

Lawrence Davidson, Professor Emeritus, History, West Chester University

Robert A. Gelbach, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Southern CT State University

Jodi Melamed Associate Professor, English and Africana Studies, Marquette University

Beverly J. Stoeltje, Professor Emerita, Anthropology, Indiana University

Philip L Bereano, Professor Emeritus, Technology and Public Policy, University of Washington

Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics, University of San Francisco

Adriana Ponce, Associate Professor, Music, Illinois Wesleyan University

Sahra Sedigh Sarvestani, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering,

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Judith Berlowitz, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies, Mills College

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, University of Washington at Seattle, Department of Physics

Anonymous, Professor, San Francisco State University

Cynthia Franklin, Professor of English, University of Hawai’i

Martin A. Billeter, Dr. sc. nat.Emeritus Professor Molecular Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Paul McDermott, Adjunct Professor, Modern and Classical Languages & Literature California State University at Northridge

Kate Drabinski, Senior Lecturer, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Maryland

James Dickins , Professor of Arabic, University of Leeds

Alan Meyers MD, MPH Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine

Francine Tyler, Professor Long Island University

Craig Willse, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, George Mason University

Rosalie G Riegle, Professor Emerita in English, Saginaw Valley State University

Benjamin deLee, Assistant Professor, Byzantine-Islamic Relations, Middle East, SUNY

Henry H. Bucher, Jr. Professor Emeritus, Humanities, Austin College, Texas

Peter Odell Campbell, Assistant Professor of English, University of Pittsburgh

Jelena Petrovic, Professor, Communication and Media Studies, Stetson University

Carl G. Wagner, Professor of Mathematics, The University of Tennessee

Mohammed B. Alwan, Professor Emeritus, Tufts University

David Klein, Professor of Mathematics, California State University, Northridge

Michael Keefer, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph

Matthew K Chew, Professor, Ecology, Arizona State University

Tom Mayer, Professor emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder

 

 

Current University of Washington School of Law Students

 

Tadeu Velloso, President, Latina/o Law Student Association, LSWAIR, IMAP

Erika Bleyl, UW Law Student, Co-President of Outlaws

Katy Reed, UW Law Student, Co-President of Outlaws

Jeremy Wood, UW Jewish Law Students Association

Danny Waxwing, Jewish UW Law Student, Outlaws, IMAP

Theo Shaw, UW Law Student

Nico Quintana, UW Law Student

Crys O’Grady, UW Law Student

Susana Ruiz-Gallegos, UW Law Student, Member of LLSA

Christina Weidner, UW Law Student

Ellen Macomson, UW Law Student

Kelly Skahan, UW Law Student

Travis Mann, UW Law Student

Sophia Posnock, Jewish community member, UW Law Student

Ari Mead Robbins, Jewish UW Law Student

Alexis Howell, UW Law Student, Outlaws member

David Russell , UW Law Student

Anne Pfeifle, UW Law Student

Astor A. Kidane, UW Law Student, BLSA

Martina Kartman, UW Law Student, IMAP, NLG

Olivia Miller, UW Law Student

Claire Sullivan, UW Law Student

Michael Mohan, UW Law Student

Kevin Duffy-Greaves, UW Law, Treasurer of the Public Interest Law Association

Ali Burton, UW Law Student

Weston LeMay, UW Law Student

Alexa Polaski, UW Law Student

 

 

UW School of Law Alumni & Legal Community

 

Pooja Gehi, Esq, National Lawyers Guild, Executive Director

Lillian M. Hewko, UW Law Alumni

Stephen Coger, UW Law Alumni

Emily Nelson, UW Law Alumni

Priya Rai, UW Law Alumni

Anonymous, UW Law Alumni, PhD Candidate in Political Science

Huy Nguyen, UW Law Alumni

Sarah White, UW Law Alumni

Anonymous, UW Law Alumni

Neil Fox, Attorney

Eric Dunn, Attorney, Northwest Justice Project

J Engels, SU Law Alumni

Susan Sobel,    SU Law Student, Scholar for Justice, Member of IMAP

Beth Leonard, SU Law Alumni

Matthew Kellegrew, Attorney at Law

Salmun Kazerounian, Staff Attorney, Connecticut Fair Housing Center

Chris Beall, Fordham University School of Law

Amy Bouldin, SU Law Student

Joseph Freeman, Law Students for Justice in Palestine, UC Berkeley

Eliana Horn, CUNY Law

Erica Leff, CUNY Law student

Whitney F. Hill, SU Law Student

Aviva Simon-Pottharst, JD Candidate and NLG Secretary, UC Davis School of Law

Mohammed Nabulsi,  UT Austin Law Student, National Lawyers Guild-TX Chapter

Kristina Gibbs-Ruby  2L at Seattle University School of Law

Vignesh Ganapathy, McGeorge School of Law, Government Relations

Mackenzie Houck, University of Washington ’08, Boston College Law School ’14

Suzanne Adely, National Lawyers Guild

Jonathan Levenson Moore, Legal worker

Deborah Dean, Secretary, The Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

 

 

 

Current University of Washington Students

 

Vincent Calvetti, Jewish UW Graduate Student, Comparative Religion

Caitlin Palo, UW Graduate Student

Yezen Rashid, UW Student

Yasaman Naraghi, UW Graduate Student

Samar Azzaidani, Palestinian UW Student, Public Health, MSA Member

Daniel Oron,   UW Undergraduate Student; Jewish community member

Anonymous, UW Student, Students For Justice in Palestine

Dalya Perez, UW, PhD Candidate

Malak Sh, UW Student

Brianna Birkel, UW Student, Physics, Member of SUPER UW

Gregory Laynor, PhD Candidate, English, University of Washington

Keshet Ronen, UW MPH student

Isra Ayesh, Organizing Director, Americans for Refugees and Immigrants & UW Student

Ryan Schmautz, UW Bothell Student

Hamziye, UW Bothell Student

Garrett Strain, UW Student, Evans School

Naomi Goldenson, UW student

Justin Bare, UW Computer Science and Engineering

Sebasti Pez-Vergara, UW graduate student

Cat Cunningham, MSW, UW Q Center

Anonymous, Palestinian UW Student, Member of SUPER

Mariam Sabri  Graduate Student, Jackson School of International Studies

Kholood Altassan, UW Student, member of SUPER

Li Zilles, member of UW AWDU

Ayè_e ToksÙz, UW graduate student

Jesse McClelland, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Washington

Lauren O’Laughlin, Graduate Student and Instructor, University of Washington (Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies)

Olga Rocheeva, UW student, Class of 2017

Ibtihal Mahmood, UW Graduate Student

Esra Bakkalbasioglu,   PhD Candidate, UW

Avery Viehmann, UW Bothell graduate student

Dimitri Groce, Student, UW School of Social Work

Andre Stephens, Graduate Student, UW Sociology

Emmett Stanfield, UW MSW student

Christine Tran, MSW Candidate

 

 

University of Washington Alumni

 

Eileen S Riley, usually proud Alumni

Carl Davis, UW Alumni

Anonymous, UW Alumni

Victoria Urias, UW Psychology Alumni

Ellen Punyon, UW Alumni

Jean Buskin, UW alumna and former employee

Mason Taylor, UW Alumnus

Tamara A. Turner, UW Alumni

Sharon Wilson, Alumni of UW School of Librarianship and School of Engineering

Dr. Sibyl James, UW alumna

Anonymous, UW Alumni

Srijan Chakraborty, UW SSW Alumni

Erica Weiland  , UW alumni

Landon Burch, UW Alumni

Ashley Livingston, MSW, UW School of Social Work

Mariel Boyarsky, UW School of Public Health alumni

Wendy Elisheva Somerson, UW alum, JVP-Seattle

Dr. Howard J. Gale, UW Alumni & Seattle Jewish community member

Anonymous, UW Graduate School Alumnus

Anonymous, UW School of Medicine alumna

Anonymous, UW Alumni

Shelby Handler, Jewish community member and UW Alumni

Peter Fowler, University of Washington Alumni

Mollie Wolf, UW Bothell Alumni (Master’s in Cultural Studies, 2015)

Stephanie Driessel, UW Bothell alumni

Sarah Davis, UW Alumni

Dr. Shon Meckfessel, UW PhD Alumnus, English Faculty at Highline College

Christoph Hanssmann   UCSF. Sociology PhD Student, UW Public Health Alum

Haithem El-Zabri, UW alumnus

Samar Hassouneh, Almunus 2003

 

 

Community           

 

Jamila Hammami, Executive Director, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

David Basior, Rabbi, Kadima Reconstructionist Community

Cindy Corrie, President, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

Huda Giddens , Educator, President of the Arab Center of Washington

Yong Chan Miller, Executive Director, Surge Reproductive Justice, Seattle

Eva Kalikoff, prospective UW Law student, current student at Barnard College

Andrew Meyer, Policy Analyst, Rachel Corrie Foundation

Rochelle Gause, National Organizer for Friends of Sabeel, North America

Bobby Righi, retired instructor of mathematics, SCCC

Ned Rosch

Darlene R. May, Ph. D.

Samantha Brotman

Frederick Neuhouser, Barnard College-Columbia University

Chance Yager

Hussein Ali, second generation Palestinian refugee

Nomy Lamm, Jewish community member

Anonymous, Brandeis University alum

Ann Rudinow Saetnan, Jewish-American

Paula Cracknell

Mirella, Social Worker

Noam Perry, Israeli Jew

Duane Wright

Diana Falchuk, community member

Abdelfattah Abdeljabbar, Palestinian, Parent of 2 UW Students

Steve Leigh, International Socialist Organization

Terri Ginsberg, Jewish community member

Elsa Auerbach, Daughter of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany

Matthew Bear-Fowler

Jackie Van Der Hout, Evergreen State College student

Sana El-Khateeb, Palestinian, Parent of UW Students

Clementine Austinson, Jewish Community Member

Anne Gough,   Seattle University Alumna

Nicolette Gullickson, Graduate Student, San Francisco State University

Katherine German

Ben Lorber, member of Jewish Voice for Peace

Dennis Kortheuer

Huda Sarhan

Sara Rubinstein

Lawrence Waldron

Elizabeth Gatluak, DECA PR, PHI BETA PR, Bellevue College

Dennis L. Rudnick

Laila Hussein

Tamar Zere

Sophia Weinstein, Class of 2016 at Oberlin College

Laurence Davis

Kifah Shah

Darrin Hoop, International Socialist Organization

Joel Doerfler

Amirah H. Ziada, Muslim community member

Shelby Lee Wallace

David B. Chandler, Ph.D

Ridk Barrett

Fatima

Camilla Mejia

Kirsten Allison

Sarah LaDuron

Aida LaDuron

Jordan Kelley

Mauricio Berho

Taylor Pfeiffer

Susan Blythe-Goodman

Marcia Davitt, Postdoc, Virginia Tech

Deborah Eisele

Amos Shirman

Roger Lippman, Rubezhevichi Museum of Rural Jewish Life

Ron Kaufman, JVP, Santa Cruz

Sara Rubinstein

Senait Tesfu

Elizabeth Louis

Spring Eselgroth

Bridgid Persephone Newman-Henson

Russell Khater

Ellie Taylor, UW-Harborview Social Worker I

Barbara Lyons

Aida Dodoo

Rebecca Subar

Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark

Josh Strassman

Amber Joy

Paul Jameson, PhD, MIT, Harvard College

Ann Terrell

Ranim Shaykho

Lorraine D. Johnson

Wesam Azzaidani, Palestinian

Sally Elhousieny

David Westman

Angela Smith

Reem I

Ron Pellegrino

David Skinner

Linval DePass, Member, Jewish Voice for Peace

Nathalie Martin

James Levitt

Michael Gottlieb, Graduate Student, New School for Social Research

Judith Kolokoff, AFSC

Richard Silverstein, Journalist, Tikun Olam

Constance Trowbridge

Sarah Nason

Lizzie Zemke

Lara Davis

Matt Weiner

Charles Davis

Scott McClay

Pete Schoonmaker, member, Veterans For Peace

Dr. Sheldon Burkhalter, Retired minister

Yasmeen Perez

Calvin Burnap, LMHC, Seattle

Carolyn Sherrard

Luke Quinn

Nicholas Heyer, PhD

Mark Carnney

Khan Hasan

Buzz Slutzky

Holly Sheehan

Balkis

Dorothy Chambless, Retired Montessori Teacher

Sara Spriggs

Adam Levine

Michael Penhallegon, Student, The Evergreen State College

Isabelle Saeys

Linda Robinson, Jewish Voices for Peace Member

Arwa Dubad

Feruza

D’vorah Kost, Kadima, Middle East Peace Camp for Children

Sameera Khan

  1. Naomi Finkelstein

Merry Maisel,            San Diego JVP

Soya Jung

Martha Koester

Shugla kakar

Nasir Tura

Glenn Thureson

Nada Elia

Terri Nilliasca, CUNY

James Whetzel

Rachel Lee, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Orleans

Sasha Duttxhoudhury, UW Staff

John Chambless

Birch Burghardt, Local leader, Jewish Voice for Peace

Ron Fox

Lawrence Jacobson

Beverly Stuart

Sylvie Kashdan

Mary Grace Hebert

Emma Rose, Student, South Puget Sound Community College

Alyssa Fairbanks

Dan Gilman, Veterans For Peace

Ronni Klompus, UW Audio Production

Joshua Malle

Irene Siegel, PhD

Tallie Ben Daniel, Academic Advisory Council Coordinator, Jewish Voice for Peace

Bridge Joyce

Brady McGarry

Hester J Angus

Nathan Bakken

Meron Habte

Sarah Berbache

Douglas Coleman

David Skripac

Fred Birffel

Mark Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace

Denise Sterchi, Member, Congregation Beth Shalom

Maral Sahebjame

Lorraine Hartmann

  1. Stoner

Adrienne Weller, Jewish community member

Lauren Waxwing

Alison Ramer

Carson Marshall

Marc Mazique

Rico Chenyek,            University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Beezer de Martelly, Graduate Student, UC Berkeley

Jeff Jacobs, PhD Student, Columbia University

Emily Hooper

Albert Penta

Gabe Barnow

Dorli Rainey

Elizabeth Ingenthron

Debra Mahar

Ryan Sample

John Mifsud

Samira Shifteh, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Seattle

Ereeni Roulakis, student, Xavier University of Louisiana

Lynn Batavia Johnson, Teacher

Lor Anderson

Elaine Wiatr, Jewish Voice for Peace, We Refuse To Be Enemies

Kim Loftness

Kathryn J. Habeger

Siloh Radovsky

Eli Damm

Larry La Caille

Elisabeth Long

Allison C. Glidden, Administrative Manager, Rachel Corrie Foundation

Sfirah Madrone

Will McKeithen

Amela Zukic

Rula Borelli, Justice Matters One Voice

Nicolette Gullickson, Graduate Student, San Francisco State University

Eitan Isaacson, Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle

Maryrose Yacoub Khoury

 

9 Jewish community members signed anonymously

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 19

Scholars, community members outraged by campaign to smear human rights activism as antisemitic

Law students deliver open letter signed by faculty, students and community members condemning event proposing policies to repress critics of Israeli policies

Seattle, WA (April 19, 2016)— University of Washington Law Students delivered a letter signed by nearly 400 scholars, students and community members from across the country to the UW Law School administration today, condemning the decision to include  Kenneth Marcus of the Brandeis Center in the school’s “Social Justice Tuesdays” speakers series. Marcus has been a key proponent in a well-funded campaign to re-define antisemitism to include criticism of Israel, and has a demonstrated record of harassing student activists for Palestinian human rights.  The letter expressed “deep disappointment in the decision to allow Kenneth Marcus, sponsored by the Brandeis Center and StandWithUs Northwest, to share his work with students under the banner of ‘social justice,’” despite emphatic objections from students, local community members, and professional colleagues who argued that Marcus’ history of filing civil rights complaints against universities over false allegations of antisemitism are a part of a campaign of intimidation against critics of Israeli policy and work to chill speech on college campuses.

The letter’s signatories included prominent scholars such as Judith Butler, the Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, Joel Benin, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford, and Dean Spade, Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law and founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Legal organizations including the National Lawyers Guild also endorsed the letter. “People are shocked the Law School is being used as a platform for a nationwide campaign to repress the growing movement for Palestinian human rights,” said Law student Ari Robbins. “Previous attempts to institute a long-discredited definition of antisemitism once used and now discarded by the European Union Monitoring Centre, have failed at the University of California  in the face of wide condemnation from faculty, students, and community members.”

The letter, initiated by UW Law Students, was presented to Dean Testy during a meeting between the administration and student groups to discuss concerns about racial justice on campus on Tuesday afternoon.

The letter highlighted that many in the community had deep concerns over the sponsors of the event, pointing out that co-sponsor StandWithUs Northwest had a history of working with groups with deeply problematic positions. organizations with deeply problematic positions at odds with a commitment to social justice“I was deeply upset to find out that Social Justice Tuesdays was granting StandWithUs a platform under the banner of social justice, especially in light of the fact that they work closely with organizations like Christians United for Israel, whose leader John Hagee has a history of making homophobic, Islamophobic, and antisemitic remarks. SJT shouldn’t allow SWU to whitewash this history,” said UW graduate student Caitlin Palo.

Students argued that it was important to express opposition to Kenneth Marcus’ proposal. Previous civil rights complaints advanced by Marcus included spurious claims that Muslim Student Unions “fund terrorism” and have ties to “terrorist groups,” and that Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim Student Associations and Muslim Student Unions help to“fund terrorism” and have ties to “terrorist groups” Despite the fact that these claims have continually been thrown out for lack of evidence, these accusations put Arab and Muslim students at heightened risk of Islamophobic violence and intimidation.

 

 

 

Feb 11

UAW Local 4121 Passes Resolution in Support of UC Student Worker Union Boycott Divestment and Sanction Vote

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February 11, 2016
SOCIAL MEDIA: #RankandFileBDS

UAW Local 4121 Passes Resolution in Support of UC Student Worker Union Boycott Divestment and Sanction Vote

University of Washington student workers urge UAW International Union to reverse undemocratic ruling against rank-and-file member vote in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)

Seattle, WA – Members of UAW Local 4121, which represents academic student workers at the University of Washington, unanimously passed a resolution expressing solidarity with University of California student workers represented by UAW Local 2865 who recently voted to support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights. The resolution was submitted by UAW rank-and-file members and endorsed by Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Atzlan (MEChA), Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER), and United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS).

In December 2014, UAW 2865, the labor union representing over 14,000 graduate student workers at the University of California (UC), voted by an overwhelming majority to demand that their union and their employer divest from companies complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians. The United Auto Workers, the international union with which the UC local union is affiliated, nullified the vote — despite its own finding that the local conducted a fair and democratic election and an overwhelming majority of members voted in support of BDS. The local union has appealed the decision.

Local 4121 members brought this resolution to their fellow members in support of the California union. “I’m proud of our union membership for taking this stand in support of union democracy and Palestinian liberation,” said Yasi Naraghi, a union member and graduate student organizer with AWDU. “UAW 2865 is the first major labor union in the U.S. to answer the call of Palestinian trade unions to support BDS; the UAW International should be celebrating the UC vote, rather than attempting to silence it.”

Citing the fact that 65% of Local 2865’s voting members endorsed the resolution to divest, union member and member of SUPER Oliver Hoidn pointed out that the question of Palestinian human rights was a meaningful one to many UAW members. “The fact that a small group of members brought in a high-priced corporate law firm that brags about defending multinational corporations against wage and hour, whistleblower, and gender discrimination lawsuits filed by their workers should worry all who take seriously principles of union solidarity and union leadership in movements for justice.”

The resolution urges the UAW International to reverse its initial ruling against UAW Local 2865’s BDS resolution during the Public Review Board process

SUPER UW is a diverse student-led group made up of students, faculty, and community members around the University of Washington in Seattle, working to educate students and the broader community about the struggle for Palestinian equal rights.

UW AWDU is a caucus of academic workers and students at the University of Washington fighting for equitable public education and a democratic, member-driven union for all academic student workers.

# # #

Mar 04

Israeli Apartheid Week 2015

Thank you to everyone who visited the Israeli Apartheid Week (apartheidweek.org) installation in Red Square this week, titled: “We Didn’t Cross the Borders, the Borders Cross Us.” SUPER UW and MEChA de UW partnered once again to make visible the intertwining struggles for justice and liberation in the Americas and in Palestine. The wall installation represents the US/Mexico border wall and the separation wall in Palestine; both of which violate international law and human rights.

In Palestine, the separation wall furthers the illegal occupation, annexes land to Israel, and restricts Palestinians’ movement and access to land and services (B’tselem). The US/Mexico border wall has caused thousands of deaths due to re-routes through the desert and deadly border patrols. (ACLU). These borders exist in a global system of economic and military domination. Some of the same companies are designing, maintaining, and profiting from these walls: Caterpillar, Israeli corporation Elbit, and Boeing to name a few.

IAW began at the University of Toronto in 2005, where organizers wanted to examine the emotional term of apartheid in reference to Israel through engaging in an analysis of the policies that categorize the Israeli system as apartheid. Apartheid is defined under international law as institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination of one racial group over another through systematic oppression.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “we know too well our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”  We know, specifically, that the struggle for a truly just immigration policy in North America is intimately entangled with the Palestinian struggle. From Mexico to Palestine, we stand in solidarity with people across the world affected by borders. This wall seeks to visually represent the violence of and resistance to histories of settler colonialism, militarism, displacement and Apartheid.

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Oct 09

Fall Quarter Begins Reflecting on Gaza

The word “home” will invoke strong emotional responses to just about any person in any country. Home is both the physical place but it also a place where memories are built, where people come together, where meals are shared, where family life is lived. Now imagine watching your home being crumbled before your eyes and you are powerless to stop it. Imagine that your children are next to you witnessing this destruction, becoming traumatized by the idea that home no longer exists. The damage is done. There is nowhere to go. You and your family are homeless.

This is the very real case that many Gazans faced this past summer. According to the NGO Shelter Cluster, at least 17,000 homes have been completely obliterated or severely damaged during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

One family in particular was showcased during a documentary showing on campus, called “One Family in Gaza” by filmmaker and activist Jen Marlowe. In 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the Awajah family lost their home and their 9-year-old son, Ibrahim. In 2013, they finally had a new home. Months after they moved in, it was once again destroyed during the war this past summer. This family has lost everything for a second time. The father, Kamal, states in the film that his family wants the “kind of help that raises our value as human beings, that allows you to feel like a man, your wife’s a woman, your son is a child.” Instead, their most basic dignity is denied them. In fact, this is the ultimate goal that Marlowe wants people to take from her film. Often, Palestinians are grouped into two categories: violent terrorists or helpless victims. In both instances, they become dehumanized. Marlowe wants filmgoers to recognize the common humanity that we share with this family, the determination to live a dignified life, the love we have for our families, and the resilience we have even in the worst of circumstances.

Marlowe is currently taking donations so that this family can rebuild their home. You can reach her at donkeysaddle@gmail.com.

Chelsey Dambro,  Evans School of Public Affairs Graduate Student

 

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Jul 18

A Letter from SUPER UW to the University of Washington Community

Palestinians gather around the remains of a Gaza City house which was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, 14 July. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Palestinians gather around the remains of a Gaza City house which was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, 14 July. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Dear UW students, alumni, faculty and staff,

On the 8th of July 2014, Israel launched a military offensive on Gaza that was designated “Operation Protective Edge.” On the 17th of July, Israel started its ground invasion of the Gaza strip that will surely lead to further death and destruction. This ongoing assault on Gaza, a heavily populated area with 1.8 million living in an area of 139 sq miles (smaller than the city of Seattle), has lead so far to the death of 294 Palestinians, 58 of them under the age of 16 and 30 women according to al-Akhbar newspaper. A UN report, states that 4 out every 5 Palestinians killed are civilians.

Reports so far also say that one Israeli volunteer was killed in Sderot and one soldier, bringing the total number of Israeli fatalities to 2. We, SUPER UW, stress the need to address the root cause behind this violence, the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and the complete disregard for the rights and lives of the Palestinian people.

This latest bombardment of Gaza touches the UW community directly as one of UWs students (Laila AbuDahi) is currently trapped in Gaza with no ability travel to UW to attend school in the fall. We mourn all those who have died, and we reaffirm that Palestinians and Israelis deserve security, justice, and equality. As students we identify perhaps most with the 18 Palestinian students who were killed before they learned the results of their 12th grade final exams that would have given them the opportunity to attend University. We mourn their lost potential, hopes and dreams.

In response to the call from civil society organizations in Gaza, we also reaffirm the need now more than ever, to Boycott, Divest and Sanction the state of Israel and those who profit from Occupation until the Israeli government complies with International law and universal values of decency by, ending the occupation, ensuring equal rights for all who live in Palestine/Israel as well as the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The Boycott National committee lists these 9 ways we can support Gaza through BDS

http://www.bdsmovement.net/get-involved

http://electronicintifada.net/content/urgent-call-gaza-civil-society-act-now/13558

This non-violent movement is one way to send a message to Israel that it can no longer break international law with impunity and ignore the charters of the very organization that created it in 1948.

Please visit the link below for an updated list of the names of those who have been lost:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/gaza-under-seige-naming-dead-2014710105846549528.html

May 20

Press Release: UW-Seattle Students Bring Divestment from Israeli Occupation to a Vote

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON
Tuesday 20 May 2014

UW-Seattle Students bring Divestment from Israeli Occupation to a Vote

Ten UW Student groups introduce student senate Resolution to divest UW’s endowment of companies profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestine

The student senate at the University of Washington-Seattle joins more than a dozen student bodies to formally consider recommending the university divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The bill did not pass despite broad student support and a nationwide trend of student senates across the country calling on their universities to divest. The final vote of 8 to 59 included 11 abstentions and a number of senators who expressed interest in learning more about the occupation of Palestine.

The bill, which focused on a number of companies directly profiting from occupation and the human rights abuses it entails, urged the University to “divest from those companies meeting such criteria within the bounds of their fiduciary duties until such companies cease the practices identified in this Resolution.” Students have already begun conversations with the UW treasury department and hope to continue to work together moving forward. According to the treasury department, as of April 22nd 2014, the UW was invested in four of the companies specifically identified in the resolution, collectively totaling nearly $6 million.

The bill was widely supported by student groups, including the Disability Advocacy Student Association, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Atzlan, and UW Black Student Union as well as by faculty, alumni, and notable figures such as Cindy and Craig Corrie – parents of Washington State student Rachel Corrie who was killed in 2003 when a militarized Caterpillar Bulldozer operated by an Israeli soldier ran her over while she attempted to protect a Palestinian home from illegal demolition. Other supporters included Miko Peled, son of a prominent Israeli general, Jewish Voice for Peace, International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, and organizations in Israel, Palestine, and South Africa.

UW student Peter Brannan, who presented the resolution, said, “This process has been about renewing the belief that students can make a difference not only on their campus but in the world.” Members of SUPER expressed resolve and excitement about the future direction of student solidarity with Palestinian equal rights: “We are moved by the flood of student support for this resolution. We are only more determined to build community on campus for this struggle. Other campuses show that important struggles take time.”

Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights is a registered student organization at the University of Washington dedicated to equal rights and justice for the Palestinian people.

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May 13

R-20-39: Frequently Asked Questions

Aren’t there more relevant topics for students to be addressing? ASUW has already voted to support socially responsible investing with R18-19 in 2012. This bill is in keeping with those values and provides actionable guidance to UW administration.. R20-39 also responds to the University of Washington’s own stated commitment to “the active pursuit of global engagement and connectedness” and to fostering “engaged and responsible citizenship.”

Are you for a one-state or a two-state solution? There is explicitly no language about one state or two state in the bill or in the BDS call. There is only a call for equal rights under humanitarian and international law.  Policy decisions still need to be made by those involved: by Israelis and by Palestinians.

Why not boycott or divest from Boeing?  Boeing has been divested from by a number of religious organizations including UMass and the United Methodist Church due to its contributions to and profit from the occupation of Palestine.  This bill does not specify Boeing as an initial company to divest from because of UW’s multi-layered financial relationship with Boeing.  A more focused bill on Boeing would be appropriate, and more research on divestment from the company would be needed.  R-20-39 asks that the university divest within the realm of its fiduciary responsibility, so we have proposed companies to begin with that are well within the realm of possibility.

What other corporations meet the criterion of the resolution?  Why list these particular ones?   These particular companies are widely recognized as playing a key role in the occupation of Palestine: HP provides bio-metric surveillance to limit Palestinian’s movement within Palestine; Veolia is profiting from services that annex land for garbage disposal and Israeli-only transportation; Northrup Grumman is a key provider of weaponry used against civilians; Elbit builds drones and the separation wall; Caterpillar sells bulldozers through U.S. Department of Defense Contracts to an Israeli company which weaponizes the machines. The IDF then uses CAT bulldozers to demolish homes and olive orchards to annex land and build settlements. We have selected these for our divestment proposal because 1) they are widely recognized as participants in key aspects of the occupation and 2) Divesting from these is within UW’s fiduciary responsibility.

Why the focus on Caterpillar?   R-20-39 focuses on Caterpillar because home demolitions are central to how the occupation functions. Demolishing homes is a tool of displacement and intimidation and is among one of the most traumatic aspects of living under occupation: if one’s house can be destroyed at any time, where can one feel at home, feel safe?   Additionally, a fellow Washington student, Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death in Gaza while she was participating in nonviolent action standing in front of a family home.  In response, Evergreen State College Students have voted not only to divest from companies profiting from the Occupation of Palestine, but also to make Evergreen a CAT free campus so long as the company profits from the occupation.  Evergreen’s endowment is housed in UW’s endowment, so our divestment from CAT will be in alignment with other Washington state students’ democratically voted proposal.

How would divestment actually work if the resolution passed? Setting screens on endowments is a common practice by investment managers in order to follow the requirements of the institution whose funds they are managing. R-20-39 when passed would first ask that UW formally recognize the requests made in the bill.  UW would then speak with its investment managers and instruct them to look for alternate, equally profitable but more socially just companies to invest in.  When suitable alternates were found, investment managers would adjust the portfolio over an agreed upon period of time. The investment screen would last only so long as the companies were directly profiting from the occupation. When companies cease profiting, they can be added back into UW’s portfolio.  For example, when CAT stops selling its bulldozers to Israel to be weaponized and used in the occupation, UW’s screen would allow it to reinvest in the company.  In this way, the divestment screen has an end-date. R20-39 sponsors have already been in conversation with the UW Treasury Department and Student Regent.

This resolution and BDS is intended to “delegitimize” Israel.  The right of return of Palestinian refugees will mean the end of the Israeli state. The Right for any refugee to return to their home is enshrined in international law in UN resolution 194.  Voting for this resolution is in no way voting for any specific solution or political configuration in Israel/ Palestine. This resolution is about our own complicity in violations of international law and human rights. UW owns stock in corporations that are profiting from such violations. These corporations are mostly US corporations which are involved in similar violations elsewhere around the world. This makes us part of the problem, taking the side of profiteers and preventing an even handed negotiation for peace and justice. We are already involved and we are already taking a side through our investments. R-20-39 is asking for balance. R-20-39 asks our university to stop profiting from the continued violence and injustice.

What about Israelis facing violence?  Shouldn’t this resolution be more balanced?  Isn’t this singling out Israel? This resolution is focusing on the violence in the region that we are directly linked to. Our investment in the repression and killing of Palestinians is a one sided support of Israeli government policies. Addressing corporate complicity in severe human rights violations using universal criteria, in order to end our complicity in the Israeli occupation is not singling out but holding Israel to the same standards of International law as other nations. R20-39 sponsors would support other bills to end UW involvement in human rights abuses in other countries, in fact we hope this bill will encourage more action around socially responsible investment.

Why not divest from other responsible parties like Hamas, Egypt?  UW is not invested in violence against Israeli civilians. It is invested in violence against Palestinian civilians. This bill ensures UW is not standing on the side of this violence but rather ending involvement in it.

Wasn’t the wall built to protect Israelis from suicide bombings?   The wall annexes Palestinian land mainly in areas where there are illegal Israeli settlements and industrial zones. When it is completed, the wall will illegally annex about 9% of West Bank lands onto the Israeli side. In 2004 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Israel’s construction of the Wall to be illegal. According to Israeli Human Rights organization, B’tselem 85% of the wall’s planned route runs through the West Bank—on occupied Palestinian territory, not on any recognized border with Israel. Both Elbit Systems and Motorola Solutions, named in the resolution, provide technology and maintenance for the wall in its illegal path. Motorola Solutions provides the MotoEagle Surveillance system including radars and cameras to detect human movement on the Wall in the West Bank as well as around Gaza. Elbit Systems is one of two main providers of the electronic detection fence system on the wall.

Shouldn’t students be focusing on efforts that help Palestinians and Israelis collaborate and seek reconciliation for a more peaceful future? Peace & reconciliation happens after inequity is over; this bill when passed supports the establishment of equitable grounds for further conversation, dialogue, peace and reconciliation which cannot happen in a system of vast inequity where one party controls and occupies the other. In the words of Robin D. G. Kelley, Acting Chair of Afro-American Studies IDP and Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA: “The South African experience proves that peace and reconciliation is possible, but will remain elusive without justice, nor will it be achieved as long as we continue to financially support a regime that violates international law with impunity. The occupation is illegal, it perpetuates more than a half century of dispossession, it does not serve the interests of the majority of Israeli citizens, and it is costing American citizens some three billion dollars a year. The University of Washington, a leading global light in public higher education, should not profit from occupation and dispossession.”

This is a complex issue and the resolution oversimplifies the history of the Middle East.  The situation is indeed complex, but the careful deliberations of human rights organizations and other international bodies have made clear that violations of international law must end. This resolution is about our complicity in human rights abuses, it is also about the role of students and educational institutions in the world. To quoteRon J Smith, Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bucknell University, and a UW and Evergreen alum: “The goals are clear: Israel must abide by international law. The means are direct: individuals, communities, and institutions can take a stand simply by refusing to support the Israeli occupation by purchasing products from companies that profit from the occupation.” We believe that universities are places of learning and equality, so we are asking that the university’s funding also align with these principles.

What does Evergreen student opinion have to do with our student senate?  Evergreen State College Students have voted to not only to divest from companies profiting from the Occupation of Palestine, but also to make Evergreen a CAT free campus so long as the company profits from the occupation.  Evergreen’s endowment is housed in UW’s endowment, so our divestment from CAT will be in alignment with other Washington state students’ democratically voted proposal. Resolution 20-39 makes clear that the decisions of UW students can affect others deeply—TESC is just one example.

Equality in Israel is “enshrined in the law.”  Don’t Palestinians have the right to vote in Israel?R20-39 asks us to vote on whether UW should invest in companies violating Palestinian human rights. Palestinian citizens of Israel can vote or run for office, but it’s within a limited framework and even such opportunities cannot be balanced against the human rights abuses faced by Palestinians under illegal occupation. There are many examples of discrimination within Israel, just to name one: about 93% of the land in Israel is managed by the Israel Lands Administration, an extension of the Jewish National Fund, rendering it either very difficult or outright impossible for non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel to move onto it. Most of this land was taken from Palestinians who became refugees in 1948.

Won’t Israeli and Jewish students feel unsafe on campus if this resolution passes?  In the words of UW alum Susan Koppelman: “It is inaction in the face of injustice that makes all members of our UW community feel less safe. It does not do anyone in our community any good to have our university investment dollars supporting human rights violations.” UW Students shouldn’t shy away from engaging in a full debate around an issue because it is difficult. We have a unique position as students to act as advocates for social change, and that is the central issue.

If the companies aren’t really harmed financially if UW divests, what good does resolution do?Our decision to divest from human rights abuses is about ending our complicity, it is also a symbol to both those companies and our administration that we recognize the gravity of the situation and are not willing to condone human rights abuses. While the fall of Apartheid in South Africa did not hinge on the University of Washington’s decision to divest, the message it sent to companies and the symbolic pressure that came from the potential domino effect was significant.

Aren’t most divestment resolutions at other universities failing to pass?  75% of divestment resolutions that have come up on college campuses have passed successfully. Student governments that have passed resolutions include: Arizona State University; Evergreen State College; Hampshire College; Loyola University Chicago; Oberlin College; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Riverside; University of California, San Diego; University of Massachusetts, Boston; and Wesleyan University. Hampshire College was the first to pass a resolution in 2009, and the first to divest from Apartheid South Africa in 1979, followed by 155 schools in the US and Canada.

Apr 28

Defending Apartheid – From 1968 to Present

daily-masthead1The Daily newspaper at the University of Washington recently ran an editorial titled “Why Israel?: The problems with ASUW Resolution 20-39.” In this article, Nathan Taft makes two arguments against a resolution brought before the Associated Students of the University of Washington which urges UW to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli government’s human rights abuses.

The first is that Israel’s innovations in science more than make up for the destructive colonial project which the Israeli government has spent the last half century pursuing.

Taft writes,

“The blind hatred that some of the world bears for Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, is a deeply troubling conundrum. There are undoubtedly issues with certain policies of Israel’s government and particular facets of its society — such as the building of settlements — and these must be addressed. But this is only a small part of a much more complicated conflict that stretches back more than 2,000 years, and the solution lies not in misleading propaganda but in fair and open dialogue.

The truth is, the overwhelming majority of what Israel and its people contribute to the world is positive. This tiny nation publishes nearly ten times more scientific papers than its share of the world’s population and has more Nobel Prize winners than all the other countries in the Middle East put together. Israeli technological innovations brought us drip irrigation that revolutionized agriculture worldwide, pill-sized cameras that can be swallowed to diagnose internal conditions, portable flash drives, and instant messaging, to name just a few.”

Taft’s interpretation of the benefits and costs of the occupation completely silences the experiences of the Palestinian people. This familiar ends justify the means argument has long been used to justify colonial and imperial projects, especially those of western powers. In fact, on April 4th, 1968 the Daily published an opinion piece co-authored by journalists Richard Sanders and Larry Parr with strikingly similar arguments attempting to justify South African Apartheid.

In this passage, Sanders and Parr personify “the Facts” in a mock account of a court room proceeding; South Africa is standing trail, and “the Facts” take the stand:

Apartheid1Sanders and Parr argued similarly that UW students in 1968 simply had a “blind hatred” for South Africa, without the “nuanced” understanding of all the “good” apartheid was doing. The paternalistic position is clear: the benevolent occupier was simply not properly understood by the ungrateful occupied.

The scone argument Taft outlines is also familiar. Why focus on Israel? The main point of this argument is that R-20-39 singles out Israel, while ignoring the crimes of surrounding countries. As though focusing on fighting against one oppression means that you are ignoring others. He states,

“Despite this, ASUW Resolution 20-39, entitled “A Resolution to Divest from Companies Profiting from Violations of International Law and Human Rights,” explicitly targets Israel and Israel alone. Not Russia, with its anti-gay laws and illegal annexation of Ukrainian and Georgian territory. Not Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed in public without a male companion and are treated as second class citizens. Not even Syria, where the government has massacred more than 100,000 of its own civilians. No, the Resolution targets only the Jewish of the state of Israel.

The argument for divestment from countries that practice clear-cut and straightforward violations of human rights is a legitimate one, but this resolution does not do that. There are many countries that do far more harm — and contribute far less good — than Israel, and they are not even mentioned, much less targeted by R-20-39.”

This statement suggests that Taft has likely not read the divestment bill R-20-39, which explicitly focuses on companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and not Israel itself, nor Israeli citizens. This defense of apartheid is also shared by Sanders and Parr, who attempt to distract from the issue being discussed by pointing the finger at other countries in the region. This passage references some of the exchange during an event on UW campus in 1968.

Apartheid2

Perhaps the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which helped draw international attention to the barbaric and inhumane treatment of South Africans was misplaced. Perhaps the Black Student Union, who started organizing against South African apartheid as early as 1968, were not justified in doing so as long as any other oppression in the world persisted. Perhaps, as Sanders and Parr argue, what we really needed was a “Good Neighbor policy,” with the South African government.

uwoutUnfortunately for Sanders, Parr and Taft, history has taught us something quite different. In 1989, after over 20 years of dedicated organizing by students at UW, the University of Washington finally divested from South Africa, in response to the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Today we are called upon by 171 Palestinian civil society organizations to engage in a similar nonviolent tactic to help bring about the end of Israeli apartheid. Pursuing divestment in companies who profit from the occupation, which R-20-39 does, is one way students at the UW have chosen to recognize that call. Not only does this resolution answer a call put out by Palestinians seeking an end to a decades long occupation, it helps create a space for an actual dialogue and discussion around Israel’s human rights abuses which goes beyond the oversimplified and inadequate AIPAC and StandWithUs talking points which Taft was so quick to regurgitate.

Students of conscience should vote yes on R-20-39. Defending apartheid today is no different from defending apartheid in 1968. As UW students we can do better. We must do better.

Find out more about #DawgsDivest, sign our petition in support, and read the letters to ASUW senators supporting R-20-39 which have come to us from all around the world at www.superuw.org/dawgsdivest

Apr 17

R-20-39: A Resolution to Divest from Companies Profiting from Violations of International Law and Human Rights

We are excited to see and support this bill coming in front of the Associated Students of the University of Washington.  In the coming weeks we will continue posting blog updates on the bill and having conversations with people on campus.  But for starters, here is the resolution with footnotes added (opens as a .docx): R-20-39