The Students for Justice in Palestine’s involvement in the growing campaign for universities and the United States to divest from Israel has been painted by opponents as being malicious, bent on the “destruction” of Israel, and an anti-Semitic singling out of Jewish people. Let’s clear up these misconceptions up front.
SJP fully supports divestment from Israel, and in doing so, we support the promotion of a stable peace for both Palestinians and Israelis alike. No past negotiations have provided for a stable peace in the region. While many pro-Israelis pass the failure of peace negotiations off as solely the fault of Palestinian terrorism, the state terrorism that the Israeli government enforces on Palestinians ultimately causes the demise of the peace process. Considering the devastating cycle of violence perpetrated by both sides, a solution is in dire need.
Members of SJP are appalled by the human rights abuses against Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government. In light of the fact that Amnesty International, a well-respected human rights organization, has a well-documented and growing list of Israeli human rights violations, Israel’s human rights record is far from “stellar” as Yale Students Against Divestment co-president Joanna Siev ’03 (“New group condemns divestment campaign,” 11/15) claims.
We strongly object to the continual military occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory by Israeli armed forces and settlers. We demand an end to the forcible eviction of the indigenous Palestinian-Arab population and we are outraged at the demolition of Palestinian homes, farms and towns. This ongoing oppression will lead to nothing but more violence and resistance and only serves to undermine efforts towards justice and peace. We abhor violence of any kind against innocents, but the recent attacks on Israeli citizens do not negate the inalienable human rights of the Palestinian people.
SJP does not support violence or destructive behavior of any kind, but rather justice and a stable peace for all. We support universal human rights for all people. We support the self-determination of and democracy for people everywhere in the world. Most importantly, when it comes down to these fundamentals, we do not discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians. We see the right of return of refugees as a nonderogable human right. We believe that the United States should end its long history of providing military support to Israel and also to its neighboring Arab proxy regimes. For these reasons we seek the implementation of the following:
1) An immediate end to the current Israeli military occupation.
2) An immediate cessation of all U.S. material and political support to Israel. This includes divestment of college and university funds from Israeli corporations and corporations that do business with Israel.
3) The creation of a single secular democratic state with equal rights for all it citizens. Furthermore, we affirm the implementation of the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and villages.
Considering these goals of SJP, and that no where in the tenets of the divestment campaign will one find support of any kind for terrorism, the account by Daniel Fitchter ’06 and James Kirchick ’06 of the divestment campaign as embracing terrorism (“The truly extremist side of divestment,” 11/18) is nothing but outright slander.
Members of SJP broadly support universal human rights of all people, and thus by token do not support the human rights violations of any nation, whether it be Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Sudan or China. In addition to the discriminatory nature of the Israeli state and its inexcusable and repeated human rights violations, Israel is the focus of this current divestment campaign because of the dire situation in which the Palestinians now find themselves and the lack of action on the part of the international community to do something about it.
SJP sees divestment a means of attaining peace, justice and reconciliation for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Aravinda Ananda is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College. Ross Anderson is a senior in Branford College. They are members of Students for Justice in Palestine.