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Students for Justice in Palestine


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B'Tselem's Map of the Settlements

			in the West Bank

SUSTAIN Campaign

The 5 Israeli Conscientious Objectors - 

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Common Dreams

 

 

 

Divest from the Israeli Occupation

"I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa."
~Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Read the Petition

We, the undersigned are appalled by the human rights abuses against Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government, the continual occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory by Israeli armed forces and settlers, and the eviction from and demolition of Palestinian homes, towns and cities.  We are horrified by attacks against Israeli civilians, but these should not and do not negate the human rights of the Palestinian people.

We therefore call on the U.S. government to make military aid and arms sales to Israel conditional on the immediate implementation of the following conditions.

We also call on the University of Pittsburgh to divest from all companies whose business promotes the Israeli occupation, especially firms that sell arms to Israel and firms based in illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, until these conditions are met:

 

1. Israel complies with United Nations Resolution 242, which notes the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by war and calls for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the Occupied Territories;

2. Israel complies with the United Nations Committee Against Torture 2001 Report, which recommends that Israel's torture of people in custody and its practice of targeted assassinations be ended;

3. Israel complies with the Fourth Geneva Convention ("The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies;" Article 49, paragraph 6), and both ceases to build new settlements and vacates existing settlements in the Occupied Territories;

4. Israel acknowledges and implements United Nations Resolution 194 with
 respect to the rights of refugees, and accepts that refugees should be
 allowed to return to their homes and lands, and that compensation should
 be paid for the property of those choosing not to return, and for the
 loss of or damage to property of all refugees;

5. Israel complies with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (passed as General Assembly Resolution 217 A(III) of 10 December 1948), Article 7, which states that "All [persons] are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law," by altering Israeli laws and de facto practices regarding citizenship, enfranchisement, land ownership, and access to resources and services to provide for equal economic, political, and social rights for all those living within its borders.

 

We call on the University of Pittsburgh to disclose its financial portfolio.  Until there is public evidence that the University and its related funds do not hold any such investments, we call on the University to divest all its holdings in them, and to demonstrate that it has done so.

 

ENDORSED BY

Pitt Students for Justice in Palestine
Students for Radical Change and Liberation
U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee
Human Rights Coalition-- Fed Up!
Thomas Merton Center's Antiwar Committee
Codepink Pittsburgh
American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Pittsburgh)

 

Sign The Petition 

 If interested in group endorsements of the campaign, please email us


 
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Since the campaign's launch on October 7, 2004, the following signatures have been compiled:

390 Total Signatures, 10 Group Endorsements

(View all signatures)

157 Pitt Students

11 Pitt Faculty Members

8 Pitt Employees

20 Pitt Alumni

76 Pennsylvania Residents

111 Others

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is divestment?

Divestment is the selling of equity ownership (stocks, bonds, etc.) of ventures or entities of a certain type.  In the case of divestment from the Israeli Occupation at Pitt, this means refusing to own, trade in, or profit by business dealings with any company whose business promotes the Israeli occupation, especially firms that sell arms to Israel and firms based in illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

 2.  Why do we want the University to take a political position?

Because of the Universitys position in society as an intellectual and ethical center, and as a place of learning, it has a responsibility toward the local and global community.  In order for the University to fulfill its role as a humanistic institution of higher learning, there must be an institutional commitment to opposing racism and colonialism.  This means that as members of the University community, we must address how our universitys endowment dollars are invested.  Not addressing how the University invests its money is itself a political positionone that denies that the University must act in a socially and morally responsible fashion.  Furthermore, there are precedents for the campaign for divestment from Israel, most notably how during the anti-apartheid struggle some universities did divest from companies doing business in South Africa

 3.  Why are we asking for divestment from Israel and not other countries?

This campaign focuses on Israel not only because Israel flouts more UN resolutions than any other country in the world, but also because it does so with the full and open political, economic, and military support of the U.S., which provides Israel with more annual foreign aid, including military aid, than any other country.  Though Israel regards itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, it is no democracy for Palestinians whom it has historically dispossessed of their country, their lands, and their homes.  We recognize that it makes sense to demand divestment from certain other countries as well, and to those working for human rights and social justice, we offer our solidarity.

 4.  Is the divestment campaign anti-Semitic?

NO.  Pitt Students for Justice in Palestine strongly condemns anti-Semitism, wherever it occurs.  We stand against all forms of racism and brutality.  Zionismthe belief that the Biblical-era land of Israel belongs eternally and exclusively to Jewsis a political ideology.  It is distinct from Judaism, a religious tradition, and world Jewry, defined by some as a religious community and by others as an ethnic or poly-ethnic community.  Criticism of Israel or Zionism is part of democratic political debate.  Just as it was not anti-white to stand against apartheid and demand divestment from South Africa, neither is it anti-Semitic to stand against the occupation and dispossession of Palestinians by demanding divestment from Israel

 5. Will divestment hurt ordinary Israelis and Palestinians?

We are concerned, as many of you might be, that a divestment campaign could hurt ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. The truth is that the combined impact of the occupationwith tremendous military and related expenditures and funding for settlementsis the biggest blight on the economy of both Israel and the Occupied Territories. The Israeli economy is reeling from the worst crisis it has faced since statehood, with unemployment up, welfare benefits cut, and government funds continually diverted to the military and war, including Israels 700-km long security wall. Ordinary Israelis are already feeling the effects of global economic downturn, the war economy at home, and anti-welfare state policies which were adopted long before the current Intifada.  (The notable exception to this economic deterioration, however, is the condition of the settlements, which are heavily subsidized.)  On the other hand, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have seen their economic life all but totally destroyed by Israels efforts to militarily defeat the uprising.  An astounding 75% of Palestinians live in poverty on under $2/day.  Unemployment has also skyrocketed, reaching some 50% in the West Bank and almost 70% in the Gaza Strip.  If Israel were to change its policies, beginning by ending the occupation, the economies of both Israel and the Occupied Territories would have the chance to recover. 

 6. How can you ask for divestment when Pitt has not disclosed its financial investments?

Some have suggested that because Pitt has been unwilling to disclose its investments, we cannot know for sure that it in fact has any investments in Israel.  In a world of globalized trade and finance, where Israel is generally thought of as the most dynamic economy in the Middle East, many businesses have chosen it as a site for profitable investment. The high tech, weapons manufacture, and finance sectors are especially replete with businesses, such as Intel or Boeing, which have investments either in Israel or the Occupied Territories. Some have factories or other facilities there. Given the profitability of the high tech industry, weapons manufacturers, and other leading brand name businesses, it is highly unlikely that our university wouldnt have holdings in companies doing business with, or in, Israel or the Occupied Territories. This also has to do with the structure of investment firms, whose holdings are usually diversified across numerous economic sectors, making it likely that arms company stocks or those of high tech companies will be included in the trading/holding profile of such investment companies.  We are eager to know the precise extent of Pitts financial complicity in human rights abuses, whether in Israel/Palestine or anywhere else in the world.  The University can clarify this by disclosing its investment portfolio, adopting an investment policy that prohibits its investment in any such companies, and establishing a permanent committee or other body responsible for ensuring that this policy is effectively implemented.

 

Resources

 

·  Do I Divest? by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

·  Israeli Apartheid - The South African Comparison

·  Resources on starting a divestment campaign from End the Occupation and Global Exchange

·  Links to other divestment campaigns

·  View the Petition, signature page (or both together), and FAQs, in Word format

·  Presbyterian Church endorses divestment

·  Anglicans recommend divestment to pressure Israel

·  Sanctions against the Israeli occupation - it's time, a report by ICAHD

 

Media Coverage

 

·  10/13/04 - Pitt group promotes divestment from Israel - The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh

·  12/04 - Students for Justice in Palestine Launches Campaign - The New People

 

PAST DIVESTMENT EVENT

 

BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS

FALL CAMPUS TOUR TO TOUCH DOWN AT UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Build the Boycott & Divestment Movement in Pittsburgh

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is partnering with Pitt Students for Justice in Palestine and Pitt Students for Radical Liberation to hold a conference at the University of Pittsburgh on campus boycott & divestment.  There is a growing consensus that boycott and divestment are the best nonviolent strategies to bring human rights for all and an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian people and land.