On the night of January 29, 2015, a historic vote in support of global justice and racial equality was taken by students at UC Davis as ASUCD passed a divestment resolution (Senate Resolution #9) with a two-third majority vote. The resolution called for the university to divest from American corporations (Caterpillar, Veolia, G4S and Raytheon) that are complicit in the ongoing human rights violations in Palestine, stating that:
“The investment portfolio of the University of California’s endowment and pension funds includes holdings in these corporations, making the University of California a complicit third party in the aforementioned human rights violations against the Palestinian people;”
This vote was the outcome of a democratic process and a grassroots student movement that was built over three years. UC Davis Senators, directly elected by and representative of the students of UC Davis, showed overwhelming support for the resolution due to its underlying anti-racist, anti-war message that is at the core of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS). This divestment resolution is part of the global BDS movement that calls for the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people, equal rights for all palestinian citizens of Israel, and recognition of Palestinian refugees’ right to return as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
Given that UC Davis has previously voted to divest from Apartheid South Africa, students on campus and across the US were inspired to divest from Israeli apartheid. Many were moved to do so after the massacre committed by Israel against the encaged Palestinians under siege in Gaza last summer that also destroyed Palestinian schools and universities. Israel's occupation, perpetual wars and alleged war crimes have created a growing sense of urgency to respond to the call from Palestinian civil society IN 2005 to divest from companies that are complicit in the displacement, dispossession, and destruction of Palestinian lives.
Community members from various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds stood in solidarity with divestment because they saw the struggle of the Palestinians as similar to their own. Many are aware that the police who are targeting black lives in cities such as Ferguson or Oakland are trained by Israeli police, and that the surveillance technology used on the US-Mexico border is also used in the Israeli apartheid wall.
The passage of this divestment resolution makes Davis the seventh UC Campus to have voted to divest from Israel, following UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Riverside. We are part of the new student movement of the twenty-first century, a diverse anti-racist movement that has grown, despite the backlash, intimidation, and threats that it has encountered.
Many non-Palestinian students at UC Davis supported SR#9 and urged the senate table to be on the right side of history. "I'm sick of the state of Israel and Jewish organizations that have a monopoly over the Jewish voice," expressed a frustrated Jewish student. After listening to the arguments and facts presented before them, senators overwhelmingly voted in favor of the SR#9. The final vote was: 8-2-2. (8 Yes, 2 No, 2 Abstain).
We are proud of the senate and of our campus for finally taking the right decision for justice, racial equality, and human rights for all, including the Palestinian people. We know that our victory might trouble those in the powerful status quo but it cannot be taken from us, because it reflects our commitment to speak the truth in the jaws of censorship, to unite in the face of attempts to divide us, and to continue to demand justice for those wanting to live with justice and dignity in Palestine, and around the world.
Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis.
Posted on 04-02-2015