CUNY: Apartheid Divestment Campaign

THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK (CUNY)

We, a diverse group of students at the City University of New York (CUNY), have launched our CUNY: Apartheid Divestment campaign to call upon the respective Undergraduate Student Governments of each educational institution as well as the University Student Senate (USS) to urge our university to financially divest from the companies currently complicit in, or profiting off of, the State of Israel’s ongoing system of military occupation, apartheid, genocide, and other human rights violations in Palestine/Israel.

We act in direct response to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) call, which was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 and is endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties and organizations. BDSs call on Israel to comply with international law by (1) Ending its 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.

The specific corporations our resolution targets for divestment are Boeing, Caterpillar, Cemex, G4S, General Electric, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lockheed Martin, Motorola Solutions, and Northrop Grumman, Raytheon. Collectively, these companies perpetuate apartheid, genocide and human rights abuses by providing technology and resources used by the Israeli military and government to attack and kill Palestinian civilians, maintain and build the Apartheid Wall and checkpoints, and destroy Palestinian property for the purpose of building illegal settlements. For example, Boeing supplies aircraft, missiles, and weapons used to attack Palestinians in the occupied territories including during the 2014 summer assault on Gaza, which, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, damaged or destroyed over 144 kindergartens, killed 2,205 Palestinians, displaced over 500,000, and left 108,000 homeless. Cemex operates four factories on occupied land and produces concrete elements used in the construction of illegal settlements, the Apartheid Wall, and checkpoints; and G4S provides infrastructure to Israeli prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subject to torture and ill-treatment.

Unfortunately, CUNY has complicity in failing to take socially responsible stances. Our university has nearly $5 million worth of investments in fossil fuel companies and $275,000 in the private prison industry. It has kept silent about an NYPD undercover spy targeting Muslim students at Brooklyn College despite a 1992 memorandum of understanding [PDF] that barred New York City police from entering CUNY campuses without permission. Hunter College was under investigation for Title IX violations.

As students at CUNY, we know such history and such (in)actions are not neutral, or a mere byproduct of open discourse. We feel compelled to work to change this legacy and put the college on the right side of history. As the recent victory with the passing of a resolution in support of the Academic Boycott of Israel at the CUNY Graduate Center demonstrated, sustained organizing and activism works, and can enact supposedly impossible change at our institution.

Because of our powerful belief in justice and equity for all people, we are proud to bring our resolution calling for divestment from companies complicit in Israeli apartheid before our Student Government this spring semester. We urge other members of the university community, including students, former students, faculty, and alumni, to support us as well by signing our petition and checking out other ways to get involved!

To: THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK (CUNY)
From: [Your Name]

We, a diverse group of students at the City University of New York (CUNY), have launched our CUNY: Apartheid Divestment campaign to call upon the respective Undergraduate Student Governments of each educational institution as well as the University Student Senate (USS) to urge our university to financially divest from companies presently complicit in, or profiting off of, the State of Israel’s ongoing system of military occupation, apartheid, genocide, and other human rights violations in Palestine/Israel.