U Cal student body urges divestment from Israel, US
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U Cal student body urges divestment from Israel, US

Governments of both countries, as well as several others, are engaged in ‘violation of human rights,’ resolution says

Protesters urging a boycott against Israel in Melbourne, file photo (CC-BY SA Takver/Wikimedia Commons)
Protesters urging a boycott against Israel in Melbourne, file photo (CC-BY SA Takver/Wikimedia Commons)

The University of California Student Association passed two resolutions Sunday calling on the institution to “withdraw investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments” from several governments, including Israel, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, and the US.

The resolutions both passed with 9 in votes in favor, 1 against, and 6 abstaining. In one of the resolutions, the student body demanded that the university “maintain the withdrawal of investments, in accordance with trustees’ fiduciary duty, until these governments are no longer engaged in the violation of human rights and other behavior that fail to adhere to the University of California endorsed Principles of Responsible Investment.”

According to the student body, the aforementioned governments, as well as the governments of Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Indonesia, have violated the universal right “to life, liberty, and security of person; to education; to privacy, family [and] home; to own property, and… [not to] be arbitrarily deprived of property.”

The resolution stated that the US “is engaged in drone strikes that have killed over 2,400 people in Pakistan and Yemen, many of them civilians.” The student body also singled out the US mass incarceration system, noting that the “government oversees, by far, the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, and racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement agencies, particularly for drug-related offenses.”

The second resolution was devoted entirely to human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories. While the resolution did not specify any alleged violations of human rights committed by the Israeli government, the student body urged a divestment from the companies Boeing, Caterpillar, Cement Roadstone Holdings, Cemex, General Dynamics, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and United Technologies, as they had all been engaged “in the Occupation of Palestinian Territories.”

The student body finally called upon the university administration to “dissociate itself from governments and companies that engage or aid in systematic prejudiced oppression, whether this system targets people based on their religion, nationality, gender, race, or orientation, by divesting from governments and companies that participate in or profit from human rights violations.”

Last Saturday, students at the University of California, Davis woke up to find swastikas spray-painted outside of a Jewish fraternity, days after the school’s student government voted in favor of divesting from Israel.

One of the two swastikas spray painted outside a Jewish fraternity at the University of California, Davis on January 31, 2015. One was spray painted on their back wall and the other on their steps. (Screen capture: Sacramento Bee)
One of the two swastikas spray painted outside a Jewish fraternity at the University of California, Davis on January 31, 2015. One was spray painted on their back wall and the other on their steps. (Screen capture: Sacramento Bee)

Two swastikas were painted on the walls and steps of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, located just of the campus of the Sacramento-area school. The University of California, Davis group that spearheaded the divestment vote last month issued a statement on its Facebook page following the vandalism, condemning the action and rejecting any blame.

The Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity is one of the oldest and most recognizable Jewish fraternities and has long been a supporter of Israel.

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