Press Release: SJP @ NYU, 21 October 2011


Students for Justice in Palestine at NYU issues official response

New York, NY — 21 October 2011 — House Representative Gary Ackerman (D-NY), ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, recently issued a statement attacking the actions of 132 New York University (NYU) faculty and staff members. Students for Justice in Palestine at NYU (SJP @ NYU) SJP @ NYU vehemently defends the signers of the Open Letter, while challenging Ackerman’s commitment to justice and international law.

The professors have signed an Open Letter to TIAA-CREF, drafted by SJP @ NYU, calling for divestment from five corporations – Motorola Systems, Caterpillar, Northrop Grumman, Elbit, and Veolia – whose equipment facilitates the oppression of Palestinians and the continued illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Writing that the NYU professors and staff are “blinded” by an “ill-informed and self-righteous rage,” Ackerman “strongly condemn[ed]” what he described as an “ill-conceived and dangerous effort … to instigate divestment from American and Israeli companies by TIAA-CREF.”

“Congressman Ackerman insists on supporting — and even questioning the existence of — the vicious, illegal, and US-backed Israeli occupation,” said Glen Pine, an organizer with SJP @ NYU. “His chilling attack on conscientious NYU professors deserves condemnation, while the professors themselves deserve praise for taking a courageous stand on behalf of basic human rights and dignity. The Letter to TIAA-CREF is still open for more signatures; now is the perfect time for additional NYU faculty and staff members to lend their support.”

Jeff Goodwin, Professor of Sociology at NYU, commented that “Representative Ackerman’s apparent denial that Israel is occupying Palestinian territories and systematically violating basic Palestinian rights is simply shocking. This kind of moral blindness has long been an impediment to peace-making between Israelis and Palestinians.”

According to NYU Arab Language Lecturer Medhat Credi, “Rep. Ackerman criticized NYU faculty members for signing a letter calling TIAA-CREF to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, because he very well knows the power of this call if it is implemented.”

According to SJP @ NYU organizer Nada Matta, “Rep. Ackerman’s letter carries on the long-lasting U.S. elite tradition of actively silencing individuals and groups that voice their disapproval of illegal Israeli actions, oppose the oppression of Palestinians, or demand a change in the U.S. policy towards Israel.”

Alaa Yousef, another organizer, commented that “The U.S. general public remains one of the most uninformed in the world regarding the brutality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians. Rep. Ackerman, in his attempt to deface a just and democratic cause, could not have more perfectly exemplified why.”

SJP @ NYU is a campus advocacy group in support of the Palestinian cause. The group advocates for non-violent actions in support of the Palestinian right to self-determination. The TIAA-CREF Divestment Campaign seeks to raise awareness about the illegal, US-backed Israeli occupation and the oppression of Palestinians

The Infamous Five

TIAA-CREF invests in many companies, but few profit so directly from the Israeli Occupation as the five listed below:


– TC invests $287,216,726
– US company
– involved in demolishing Palestinian homes and olive trees, construction of Jewish-only settlements, and the land-grab apartheid wall.

Northrop Grumman

– TC invests $199,061,302
– US company
– large weapons manufacturer; built helicopters and missiles used to kill Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, destroyed basic infrastructure, etc.


– TC invests $91,795,650
– US company
– surveillance systems in settlements; telecommunications equipment for IDF; bomb fuses.


– TC invests $19,249,837
– French company
– bus, rail, recycling, water services in Jewish-only settlements.


– TC invests $1,689,000
– Israeli company
– build drones that have been used in Gaza, Lebanon, and Pakistan. Built surveillance equipment for both the wall inside Palestine and the wall on the US-Mexico border

TIAA-CREF – The Campaign Goes On

On Tuesday, September 27 NYU SJP continued its campaign for divestment from TIAA-CREF last night with a teach-in at NYU’s Puck Building. The NYU campaign – so far the most successful in the country – has served as an inspiration and a guide to other SJP groups.

What is the TIAA-CREF campaign?

TIAA-CREF is a pension fund which most NYU faculty and staff rely on to invest for their retirement. The purpose of the SJP campaign is to pressure TIAA-CREF into divesting its holdings in 5 key companies which profile from the illegal Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.

These five companies are:

Caterpillar – sells the bulldozers used by the IDF to destroy Palestinian homes, infrastructure, and fruit and olive trees

Elbit Systems – makes drones used to kill Palestinian and Lebanese civilians

Northrop Grumman – produces the missiles, helicopters and fighter jets Israel needs to defend itself from crowds of children throwing stones

Veolia – operates a light-rail system linking Israel’s illegal settlements to Jerusalem

Motorola – manufactures surveillance equipment for Israeli checkpoints

So far, over 130 NYU faculty and staff have signed a letter urging TIAA-CREF to withdraw its funds from these corporations just as it divested from Sudan in 2009.

This year, Students for Justice in Palestine plans to continue and expand this campaign, bringing awareness to the rest of NYU and beyond.

Flotilla Report Back

U.S. Boat to Gaza

A report-back from the front lines of the international solidarity effort to break the blockade of Gaza.
Panel and political discussion.

Featuring flotilla participants/organizers Gabriel Schivone, Richard Levy and Jane Hirschmann.

Date: Wednesday, 21 September
Time: 7:00 p.m
Venue: Kimmel Center, Room 914, 60 Washington Square South

Our panelists were part of a coalition of organizations and a grassroots campaign of individuals who together launched a U.S. BOAT TO GAZA. The boat, “The Audacity of Hope,” sailed in the Freedom Flotilla II to participate in the great international effort to break the blockade of Gaza and to end the occupation of Palestine. From the deck of The Audacity of Hope, activists were in a powerful and unique position to challenge U.S. foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold international law and human rights.

Come hear about their experience, and discuss the politics behind the blockade and future strategies for overcoming it.

Upcoming Rally for Palestine

Thanks to everyone who came to our first meeting!! We had a great turnout and a lot of interesting ideas already.


On September 15, the United Nations is expected to vote on the recognizing Palestine as a full member.

Please show your support for democracy and Palestinian rights by joining a city-wide rally that afternoon!

Date: September 15, 2011
Time: 4:30
Place: Times Square, followed by a 1-mile march to the United Nations

Chronicles of a Refugee

Hey all! It’s a bit of a short notice, but tomorrow we have our final event of the year, a screening of “Chronicles of a Refugee: The Nakba Dailies” in honor of Al Nakba. It is more of a historical movie than we usually do, but obviously very politically relevant. After the movie there will be a Q & A, discussion, and plenty of time to mingle. Please come out! The event is free and open to the public.

Here is the flyer with the information: