Ellis Garey, Shafeka Hashash, and Evan Jones are organizers with NYU Students for Justice in Palestine. This article was originally published in Washington Square News.
Thirty years ago last Saturday, tireless organizing by NYU students led the administration to recognize the need to divest from apartheid South Africa. Today, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine calls on the NYU community to join the struggle to achieve a similar victory for Palestinians.
NYU Out of Occupied Palestine, a campus coalition of students, student organizations and faculty, recently announced its campaign urging the university to divest any holdings it has in companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine. These are the companies that design security technology for Israel’s 325 mile apartheid wall, which is illegal according to international law. These are the companies that produce specially outfitted bulldozers, which the Israeli army used to illegally demolish Palestinian homes. These are the companies that provided the weapons for this summer’s Gaza-Israel conflict, in which 2,100 Palestinians were killed, 500 of whom were children and 1,473 of whom were civilians.
A faculty letter in support of the campaign has already garnered over 130 signatures. Following the letter’s publication, the NYU Faculty of Arts and Sciences held a historic forum on April 8 that addressed the issues of divestment from corporations profiting off Israeli apartheid and the illegal occupation of Palestine, fossil fuel companies and labor violations across NYU satellite campuses. Three campus groups were featured in the discussion: NYU Out of Occupied Palestine, Coalition for Fair Labor at NYU and NYU Divest.
NYU Students for Justice in Palestine lends full support to this faculty initiative. It is a significant step forward, following several other divestment campaigns nationwide, and an advancement of the international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.
While this campaign focuses on the occupied territories, NYU SJP is committed to ending racism and colonialism within all of Israel and the Palestinian territories with the understanding that the violations in the occupied territories are the necessary consequences of Zionism. These oppressions include settler-colonization, ethnic cleansing,racist discrimination and segregation, bombardment and siege of Gaza and the illegal military occupation of the West Bank.
The Palestinian struggle for justice does not end in Israel and Palestine, but extends to many other areas of the world — even the NYU campus. In a recent statement, the NYU Senate Financial Affairs Committee Divestment Working Group stated that the university would only divest funds in instances in which there is “a clear and compelling moral or humanitarian objective.” Our university should not continue to invest in the occupation of Palestine and the perpetual Israeli violence against Palestinians — NYU must divest from the companies responsible for these human rights violations.
It’s time the NYU community makes another critical contribution to dismantling oppression, racism, and imperialism on a global scale by divesting from companies that enable Israeli apartheid.