Wednesday, July 18

Submission: USAC needs to make right choice by voting to divest


Dear Undergraduate Students Association Council,

By now, you have had a chance to engage with Palestinian students and Students for Justice in Palestine members through individual meetings, teach-ins, Palestine Awareness Week activities and Monday’s divestment town hall meeting, which was attended by about 100 students.

You have learned about the ways in which the University of California community is currently invested in companies that systematically violate Palestinian human rights, and the urgent and serious effect of those violations on a community that extends to this campus and your classrooms.

You have asked questions and brought up suggestions for the upcoming USAC resolution concerning divestment. You have seen SJP work in good faith to address concerns and incorporate as much of the feedback as possible, including taking suggestions from students who are against divestment.

SJP’s divestment committee has worked hard to clear up myths about divestment, a tool that students in the past have used to promote social justice and equality. We’ve responded to every criticism of divestment that has come our way, and we have yet to hear a compelling reason to invest in corporations that make money from violence against any group of people.

SJP understands that not everyone shares all of our views on Israel-Palestine, so we have worked hard to structure our campaign so that students from across campus can support and accept it.

Usually, most debates in USAC are centered on just the facts and arguments, but we know this situation is different because of how deep sentiments can run on this issue. Not only is it tempting to avoid taking a stance because of those tensions but also because the decision to support social justice is often a daunting one. Indeed, councilmembers have routinely expressed to SJP members a concern about what supporting divestment, or even appearing “too political” in general, may mean for their friendships and future job prospects.

As student activists, we have faced the same worries about our jobs and futures, but we have come to the conclusion that supporting human rights trumps those concerns. There is a huge community of support on campus: Hundreds of students and dozens of student groups from all walks of life support divestment and will be there to support you, too.

And we are joining what we believe to be a growing shift in public opinion, in which support for Palestinian rights is a more commonly held stance.

As with many other social justice struggles in the past, a stance that may seem risky and radical today will likely be rather common tomorrow. For example, it was considered radical to be against South African apartheid at some point, yet it’s a commonly held stance now.

We don’t relish putting you in this position, but the fact is that you were elected to office at a time when this issue has risen to the forefront of campus politics. Throughout its history, USAC has served as the way for students to hold systems of power, especially the UC Board of Regents, accountable to student demands. Throughout our campus’s history, none of the divestment campaigns that are now described with pride started out as popular with the regents or administration. Some took more than 10 years to be put into effect, but they all involved student governments taking a stand for social justice.

Now that you’re in office, you have an important opportunity to do the right thing, to support human rights for all people and to make a decision that UC students for generations to come can be proud of.

Throughout our divestment campaign, we have seen that support for human rights can be a basis of unity among many students on campus. On Tuesday, you can put that into practice by calling on the regents to divest from companies that violate Palestinian human rights. It’s time to do what you know is right. Be brave. Take the vote you know that you will be proud of when Palestinians are free. Divest from the violence.

Rahimi is a fifth-year international development studies student and a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

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  • ThisIsPalestine

    Student activists like Rahimi have no interest in human rights. They are interested only in attacking Israel, and they want to drag the entire UCLA campus (95+% of whom have no interest in the Israeli-Arab conflict) in the conflict on their side. Their weapons? Bigoted collective punishment of Israelis.

    If SJP actually cared about Palestinian rights, they would be opposing Hamas, who throws innocent Palestinians off buildings and drags them behind motorcycles. They would oppose Mahmoud Abbas, who has remained in office years after his elected term of office is up. But they don’t. Because they only care about Palestinian rights as far as they can be used as weapons to attack Israel. Once they can’t, SJP drops them for their next talking point.

    Divestment is collective punishment against Israel with the explicit purpose of attacking Jewish rights. No person of conscience can support it.

    • mxm123

      What does Hamas have to do with the Israeli settlement enterprise ? Nothing. Just a good excuse to divert from Israel and its conduct vis. a. vis the Palestinians.

      • ThisIsPalestine

        You are the true face of BDS, claiming to value Palestinian human rights and then truly not understanding what Hamas has to do with that subject.

        • mxm123

          Thanks for not answering the question.

          • ThisIsPalestine

            You’re welcome. Thanks for showing how you’re not actually interested in Palestinian human rights, just like all the dishonest supporters of divestment.

    • a thought

      While I agree that there are many people behind the divestment movement are hateful and interested in attacking Israel, it is unfair to assume that they all are. Some people genuinely are interested in human rights, or helping their family members that are truly suffering at this time and I think its unfair to call Rahimi out like this. I’m not sure if you know her personally, but to me this article just tells me that she needs to be more open and informed on israel’s perspective and needs to be empathetic towards legitimate struggles and fears Israelis also face. Trust me, I too am against this position and divestment though. A huge argument SJP and MSA are that Muslims and Palestinians are constantly being portrayed as hateful or terrorists. I’m sure this is not your intention, but comments like these and others you seem to make kind of seem to do this. If you really want to be effective at convincing people of your position I’d focus attacking their arguments rather than the people and their intention that you may or may not actually be right about. Otherwise, they’re just going to write you off as being hateful yourself. I don’t mean to attack you, but I think you do have great points that won’t be listened to if people just write you off.

  • a thought

    It is true that Israel has currently has the upper hand in the situation. They have a strong government, strong army etc. It is also true that many palestians died this summer and also are negatively affected by the occupation. however, in order to solve this conflict, you have to also recognize that Israel also has legitimate concerns and problems they have to deal with. The safety of their own people is also at stake. Just because they have learned to defend their own people and their were less casualties doesn’t eliminate the fact that the deathly threat of hamas is constantly there. *Notice I am saying Hamas and not the Palestinian People. The occupation and deaths of all of these people occurred because Israel was trying to protect itself from these fears. It can be argued that Israel needs to improve and their method of doing this was wrong as it caused far too many casualties. However, one needs to recognize that the motivation is driven by protection of its own people rather than hate of Palestinians.

    By taking away money from companies that may or may not continue to invest in Israel whether you do or don’t, you are not taking away Israel’s desire to protect its people. Israel cares more about the safety of its citizens more than it cares about the world’s perception of Israel, or decrease in funding. Divesting will not stop the occupation. Look at Israeli News, look at all the terror that is occurring from both Hamas and some Palestinian radicals (not all palestians again). Israel is scared. They don’t want to ease up on an area that has a track record of harboring people that hurt Israelis. If you want Palestinian human rights to improve, you also have to recognize that Israel has legitimate concerns as well. Until this is done, Israel won’t be able to get rid of its fear. You put out a fire by shooting water at its source, not at the flames that result from the source.

    Divestment doesn’t solve the problem you’re aiming to solve. I support your cause, I support human rights. But this is not the way. Divestment only furthers the agenda of people whose main drive is the hate of the state of Israel. It doesn’t further the agenda of human rights. I don’t doubt your good intention, but you need to look at the consequences of things.

    • mxm123

      So four plus decades of Israeli settlements haven’t stopped. And you claim Divestment doesn’t solve the problem, although many would disagree. Sooooooo, do you have a better idea ? Other than Palestinians seeing their homeland being stolen ?

      • a thought

        UC regents already stated that they will NOT be divesting no matter what. So this is all symbolic right? It is to spread the word and make a statement. There are many problematic things with the BDS movement which is why pro-Israel people are so opposed to it.To begin with, BDS does not advocate for a two state solution. Barghouti advocates for a “Palestine next to a Palestine” and leaves Israeli Jews out in the cold. At last years divestment meeting I heard so many hateful things, many of them blatant lies about Israel. Things I can personally confirm are lies because I have been inside of Israel myself.

        You want to make a statement? You want to write a resolution? Why not write one against the occupation? One that supports the 2 state solution and tolerance towards both Judaism and Islam? One that condemns both terror acts, rockets from Palestinians to Israeli Civilians as well as the unnecessary Palestinian deaths that occur while Israel tries to defend itself, and other human rights that are violated. J Street U, and even many Pro-Israel students would be down to support a resolution like that. Within Israel itself, there is a huge movement to aim the occupation because many citizens believe it thwarts the peace process. This would be a resolution that is pro-human rights. It would be a resolution that respects the human rights of everyone on both sides.

        A resolution like this would be the first of its kind. One where the Jewish and Muslim community worked together to find a common solution, and because of that it would get attention and spread awareness. Peace takes too, both in campus climate and in the world. If the two communities don’t listen to each other nothing will ever be solved.

        • mxm123

          Your problems with the BDS are at best dubious. If the Hillel and its supporters were so against destroying a two state solution they would have been openly criticizing the settlement pogrom for decades. Rather they couched themselves in deceptive rhetoric to cover for Israel while the latter was busy stealing, and continues to steal, land.

          Talk to me when Israel stops the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. People fight back when they are being ethnically cleansed. Not make excuses to steal their lands.

          If you wants Jews and Muslims to work together then start condemning settlements and apartheid rather than making excuses for it.

          • Mifty Popularis

            Ethnic cleansing? You mean what the Arab states who kicked out or killed all the Jews who live there?

            Israel is the only country who wins a war in which it was not the aggressor (1948 and 1967) and then gives back the land it captured in a defensive war. West Bank and Gaza was Jordanian and Egyptian territory. Jews had been living there for years alongside Arabs. There are excavations dating back thousands of years that prove Jews had been living there uninterrupted.

            In Israel, there are Israeli Arab citizens who are treated equally. There are Arab Members of Israeli parliament. You do a disservice to the real victims of ethnic cleansing when you cheapen the word by applying it to a country that treats all of its residents with dignity. All the measures Israel have had to take are because Palestinians elected a government of Hamas, who openly calls for Israel’s destruction and both takes orders and gets weapons from Iran — who is also a sworn enemy of America.

            People like mxm123 make up lies because the truth is completely against them.

  • Hchernin

    Rahimi needs to explain clearly when she thinks Palestinians will be “free”. The BDS resolution does nothing to improve the situation of Arabs in Gaza. As long as Hamas exists, Hamas will continue to use civilians and pawns in their own genocidal war against Jews living in Israel. Anyone who doesn’t accept that is the case, is either very ignorant or is intentionally ignoring blatant facts.

  • Dexter L. Wilson

    It is time to realize there is a God and His name is YHWH and His Son’s name is Jesus, and the truth is presented by His Holy Spirit. I challenge your math and science departments to research the information I am providing: This email explains the scientific methods that were used to demonstrate that our
    Creator was the only one who could have written the Bible through 44
    inspired writers. Scientific and Statistical research says that if a
    scientific experiment can be repeated again and again it can be
    considered a scientific fact. Therefore I present this evidence as
    fact.
    The Bible, with the Hebrew Old Testament Text and the original Greek
    New Testament do things that no other religious text of any other World
    Religion does; demonstrating that only the Creator could have, through
    44 inspired writers, written this book. The scribes who copied the
    original Hebrew Old Testament text copied carefully every letter, jot
    and tittle. As they read the copied text, if a single letter, jot, or
    tittle mistake was made, they would destroy all that had been written
    and start over.
    Ivan Panin, a Harvard Hebrew, Greek, and Mathematical Scholar
    researched the numerical values of the Hebrew and Greek letters. He sent
    43,000 pages of numerical research to the Nobel Research Committee in
    1900, and they could not refute the fact that God through 44 inspired
    writers wrote the Bible.
    Del Washburn has written two books expanding on the numerical values, “Theomatics” and “Theomatics II”. (See http://www.biblecode.com ).
    The most amazing proof that the Creator of the Universe wrote the Bible
    through the inspired men of God is the Equidistant Letter Sequences.
    The NSA tried to duplicate such coding and failed. Harold Gans, the
    lead code breaker for the NSA, before he died, satisfied himself
    that God wrote the Bible, by using a mathematical formula to determine
    the probabilities involved in creating codes throughout the surface
    text of the Old Testament (www.biblecodedigest.com).
    Through the code, the multitude of information reads like
    yesterdays news–you must know the names, events, persons involved,
    locations, and/or the dates. For this reason it can not be used
    prophetically.
    The original text of the Old and New Testament with the letter numeric values and the multitude of
    Equidistant Letter Sequences should be enough to prove to anyone that
    the God of the Bible, is our Creator. There are thousands of words,
    names, sentences and locations encoded in the Old Testament. If you are
    thinking that some super intelligence wrote this book other than God,
    God reminds you from Numbers 23’19″, “God is not a man that He should
    lie….” No human or computer can duplicate anything resembling the
    quantity of ELS coding in surface text like the Bible does. There are
    even codes between books, God knowing which books would be canonized.

    In Ezekiel 36′ 25″-27″ it describes God’s way of salvation–”I will
    remove your stoney heart and give you a heart of flesh (being born again
    and receiving Jesus as your Savior), I will sprinkle you with water and
    make you clean (water baptism), and (Isaiah 30’21″ also which describes how close the Leading of the Holy Spirit can be) put my Spirit in you to cause you
    to walk in my laws and statutes (receiving the Baptism of the Holy
    Spirit).

    The Bible is the Manufacturer’s Handbook for Planet Earth!

    Post Scripts
    Sources: “His Name is Jesus”, “The Genesis Factor”, “The Signature
    of God”, “The Writings of God”, “The Mysterious Bible Codes” (book and
    DVD’s), “Cracking the Bible Code”– “Bible Code Bombshell”(these two books can provide you formulas for research, “The Torah Codes and Israel Today”, Computorah/The Bible Code I, II, &III,
    bibleprobe.com/jesuscode.htm, “Yeshua”, “Jesus Is My Name”, “Statistical Science 1994″
    http://www.biblecodedigest.com, http://www.biblecode.com and there are so many more.

    Ivan Panin corrected an Exhaustive Bible Concordance using what he
    called the Bible Numerics. He said if there were 2 words found in the
    Greek New Testament in a sentence and you wanted to know which word to
    use, the word that harmonized with the sentence numerically was the
    correct word. He provided a Greek Numeric New Testament. Example of
    Bible Numerics: In the first sentence in the Old Testament, Genesis
    1’1″, every verb is divisible by 7, every noun, and more; there are
    over 34 features of the number 7 in just this one sentence and these
    type features are consistent throughout the Bible.

    Just a few of the codes found: Hitler, Holocaust, Eichmann, Fuhrer,
    Meinkampf, Berlin, Germany, Belson, King of the Nazis, Crematoria for
    my Sons, (for statistical purposes only-there are more) 66 names of
    Rabbis-the cities in which they lived-dates of death, Anwar
    Sadat-1981-parade-shot-gunfire-Chaled (his assassin), Yitzchak
    Rabin-Israel-will be murdered-date born-date of death-location of the
    assassination-assassin’s name-Oslo Peace Process, both Wars in the
    Gulf, George Bush, Saddam Hussein-America Schwarzkopf-the missiles will
    terrify-Scud B-they shut the door-3rd of Shavat-empty the gas, Murrah
    Building-Tim-McVeigh-slaughter-desolate, (in Genesis 38′) all the
    ancestors of King David, (in Genesis)25 trees are named, (between
    Isaiah 52′ and 55′) Behold the Blood of Jesus-Let Him Be
    Crucified-Mary-Joseph-Jesus is my Name-all the disciples
    names-Nazarene-Messiah-Shiloh-Passover-Galilee-Herod-Annas-Caiaphas-Caesar-The
    evil Roman City, (in Zechariah 9’13″)Jesus, (in Zachariah 11’13″)Jesus,
    (in Daniel 9’26″) The Peace Offering, (in Micah 5’1-2″ Mary, Joseph,
    and Jesus(Yeshua),(in Matthew 24’7 through 48″)
    Jesus-Nazareth-Mercy-Lamb, (in Mark 8’9″ through Mark 9’2″) Jesus-
    Blood-Son-Innocent-Lamb, (in John 5’5″-13″) Jesus-Nazareth-Lamb, the
    name of the person most responsible for all the satellites circling the
    Earth and their names—–and on and on and on and on. I don’t think
    all of the codes will be found. Who knows, the Old Testament in
    the original Hebrew may have the list of those whose names are written
    in the BOOK OF LIFE.

  • LanceThruster

    Thanks for leading the way, Bruins. Much respect.