I was pleased to learn of the call of the Brown Students for Justice in Palestine for divestment from companies that take part in Israel’s criminal activities in the occupied territories — including all activities related to Israeli settlements in the territories. That these actions are criminal is not in doubt. The International Court of Justice, with the agreement of the US Justice in a separate declaration, determined that the Geneva Conventions apply to the Israeli occupied territories, and that any actions to support settlement in these territories are in violation of fundamental international law, in particular construction of the “separation wall.” As early as 1967, Israel’s leading legal adviser, Teodor Meron, a distinguished international lawyer and a leading figure in international tribunals, informed the government of Israel “that civilian settlement in the administered [occupied] territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” the core of international humanitarian law, and the government agreed. The Brown Students are calling on the university to observe domestic and international law, and to refrain from participation in criminal and brutal actions. It is hard to imagine a more defensible stance.
– Noam Chomsky
Even as we watch Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip escalate, most U.S. universities continue to be implicated in abuses against the Palestinian people through institutional investment in companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The recent Brown University Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policy (ACCRIP) recommendation to consider divestment is a step forward in the path to end that complicity. I fully support the ACCRIP call to consider divestment, and I encourage the Brown community to take action and divest.
As someone committed to freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people, I support the 2005 Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and ends it illegal and unjust policies aimed at the non-Jewish, indigenous people of historic Palestine.
We’ve recently seen successes for BDS in universities on both coasts, but a statement such as ACCRIP’s is unprecedented in Ivy League universities. As an alumnus of an Ivy League institution (Columbia University), I realize this is a major step. The development at Brown is a testament to the diverse backgrounds of Students for Justice in Palestine, the power of grassroots organizing, and most importantly, the fact that change is possible — even in the oldest and most established American institutions. The days of Israel’s occupation of Palestine are numbered, as the traditional unconditional U.S. institutional support for Israel begins to come to an end, as was always inevitable. Injustice is unsustainable and the truth cannot remain hidden forever.
– Anna Baltzer, award-winning author, activist, and organizer for Palestinian rights