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California community college first to pass Israel divestment resolution

A community college in Cupertino, California, has become the first educational institution of its kind in the US to support a resolution in favor of divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

The resolution, which the student senate passed on 15 March, urges the De Anza College’s board of trustees to pull the college’s investments from three US-based corporations that enable Israel’s rights violations – Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar – as well as from G4S, the largest private security firm in the world.

G4S has provided equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints and inside prisons where Palestinians have been tortured.

Due to mounting international boycott pressure, G4S announced last December that it was exiting most of its businesses with Israel, but remains co-owner of a police training center.

The resolution also calls on the community college to implement a socially responsible investment policy.

In authoring the resolution, members of Students for Justice at De Anza investigated and discussed themes of mass incarceration, state violence and settler-colonialism from the US to Palestine, according to Sara Elzeiny, a Students for Justice member.

The resolution points out that Hewlett-Packard not only provides equipment to Israeli checkpoints which “restrict the freedom of movement of Palestinians, facilitate discrimination against Palestinians, and reinforce a stratification of citizenship,” but also profits from mass incarceration and the detention of undocumented persons in the US.

“You have border patrol and stop-and-frisk [laws] in the US, and in the occupied territories, you have border patrol and checkpoints and the Israeli army,” Elzeiny told The Electronic Intifada, adding that US police and Israeli soldiers have partnered in militarized training exercises.

Students for Justice works on a number of human rights and environmental issues, Elzeiny said, from mobilizing against police violence and resisting military recruitment on campus to campaigning for fossil fuel divestment. They are also joining the movement to resist the Dakota Access pipeline and support indigenous rights at Standing Rock.

The decision to support Palestinian rights was a clear one, she explained.

“Divestment takes a concrete step that pushes against the status quo that says we should normalize military intervention and occupation in a region,” Elzeiny said.

The vote to divest passed 12-1, with four student senators abstaining, according to the campus newspaper.

Growing campaign

The push for divestment at De Anza College is part of the growing student campaign in support of Palestinian rights.

Students for Justice at De Anza worked with other activists, including members of Students for Justice in Palestine at nearby San Jose State University, which in 2015 passed a resolution demanding the university divest from companies that profit from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

San Jose State became California’s first state university campus to pass a divestment resolution regarding “companies complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” while seven out of nine undergraduate campuses of the University of California have passed resolutions urging the UC’s governing body to pull its investments from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation.

Israel-aligned groups, meanwhile, are pushing for state and federal legislation aimed at silencing and criminalizing boycott activism.

Last month, the state senate of New York fast-tracked three separate bills that create a blacklist of BDS activists, prohibit student-led boycott campaigns and threaten academic associations supporting the academic boycott.

Palestine Legal called these bills “blatantly unconstitutional attacks on First Amendment rights to protest and dissent.”

At De Anza, students know they “have a lot of work ahead,” Elzeiny said, as they take the resolution to the college’s financial governing board.

Even if the board rejects the students’ demands, she said that the resolution – and the larger campaign of education on Palestinian rights – starts a necessary conversation on campus.

“Trying to make our organization the face of this discourse has made other activists want to learn about Palestine,” she said.

In 2015, a broad coalition of students brought a resolution to divest all 112 community colleges in California from companies that profit from Israel’s rights violations. The resolution was defeated.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article indicated that the resolution has to be brought to De Anza’s board of directors. Instead, it is the board of trustees which votes on implementation of the divestment resolution and a socially responsible investment policy. It has been corrected.

Source

Schermata 2017 04 10 alle 23.02.19

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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