On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, the NYU Faculty of Arts and Sciences held a historic forum concerning the issues of divestment from corporations profiting off Israeli apartheid and the illegal occupation of Palestine, fossil fuel companies, and NYU’s complicity in labor rights violations across its satellite campuses. This forum follows a faculty petition, which in just a few months garnered over 130 signatures and calls on NYU “to divest from all companies in its portfolio that contribute to or profit from the Israeli occupation.”
NYU Students for Justice in Palestine applauds this faculty initiative as a significant step—following several other divestment campaigns nationwide—and as an advancement of the international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. These actions adhere to the Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS, a non-violent campaign that seeks to make Israel comply with international law and recognize Palestinian human rights. Israel’s violations include settler-colonization, ethnic cleansing, racist discrimination and segregation, bombardment and siege of Gaza, and the illegal military occupation of the West Bank. In the most recent Operation Protective Edge assault, Israel killed over 2,100 Palestinians, the great majority of them civilians and a quarter of them children.
SJP recognizes the fight for the basic human rights of all Palestinians, including those living in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, and refugees living across the globe. To this end, we firmly endorse the three expressed BDS goals: (1) Ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall, (2) Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, and (3) Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. Only by the implementation of these goals can equality and justice be fully achieved in Palestine/Israel.
Divestment campaigns have proven a popular and effective strategy across numerous American university campuses in promoting BDS tactics and solidarity with the Palestinian people. The NYU community has a strong tradition of anti-apartheid and social justice activism, especially against the racist South African apartheid state. Just as international boycott efforts were significant in contributing to the demise of systematic segregation and racist oppression in South Africa, we believe that BDS and solidarity activism are critical in the international efforts to end Israeli apartheid. This faculty forum is an important first step, but we hope that all members of the NYU community will join us in supporting the call for justice and in supporting an end to oppression everywhere.