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NYU student senators introduce resolution for university divestment from companies violating Palestinian human rights

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The New York University (NYU) moved one step closer to participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), with a resolution presented to the NYU Student Government Assembly today, November 1st. The “Resolution on the Human Rights of Palestinians” calls for divesting from corporations who violate Palestinian human rights, and was presented by three students: Bayan Abubakr and Rose Asaf along with Alternate Student Senator at-Large Leen Dweik. Asaf, Abubakr, and Dweik are all seniors at NYU and members of Students for Justice in Palestine. Additionally, Asaf is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. The resolution will be voted on December 6th.

Targeting three corporations – Caterpillar Inc., Lockheed Martin, and General Electric – the resolution brings attention to the ways in which these corporations violate Palestinian human rights. The resolution calls on the university to divest from these companies as well as others complicit in human rights abuses of Palestinians and globally. The resolution ultimately calls on the university to implement a socially responsible investment model, which would put in a place a screen to ensure the university’s investments that uphold human rights for all.

The resolution is supported by 53 undersigned student groups, including the Black Student Union; Mosaic: The Interfaith Students of Color Coalition at NYU; NYU College Libertarians; the Muslim Student Association; and NYU Young Democratic Socialists of America. In addition to these clubs, there are 34 faculty endorsements who are listed in Appendix B of the resolution. The presentation of the resolution comes only a week after more than thirty student groups at NYU pledged non-cooperation with the NYU Tel Aviv campus.

The resolution will be voted on at the December 6th meeting of the Student Government Assembly. As determined by a previous vote in the Student Government, the vote will be held by way of secret ballot to ensure that people can vote on the resolution without falling under the influence of outside pressure.

Just a few days ago, 11 Jewish people were murdered by a white supremacist in Pittsburgh. The authors of this resolution are in unyielding solidarity with the Jewish people and unequivocally oppose anti-Semitism. The rise of nationalism worldwide has contributed to the upsurge of anti-Semitism, racism, and Islamophobia that has manifested globally. The authors of this resolution believe that the only way forward is solidarity with all oppressed peoples.

“As a Palestinian, this resolution is deeply personal to me. As an NYU student, it hurts and shocks me that the university would continue to invest in companies that directly contribute to the human rights violations of my family and my people.” – Leen Dweik, Alternate Senator-at-Large and Students for Justice in Palestine

“As an American-Israeli Jewish person, I am co-authoring this resolution because of my identity– not in spite of it. I believe that I, as a Jewish person, have a responsibility to support Palestinians in their struggle for justice and liberation. NYU likes to give the illusion that it is a progressive institution, but how progressive can it actually be when it is actively funding human rights violations?” – Rose Asaf, Senator at-Large and Jewish Voice for Peace-NYU

“I co-authored this resolution because I have a role and stake in the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice. To quote Lilla Watson, all of our liberations are bound together. As a first-generation Sudanese-American Muslim, I cannot idly stand by as the institution that I attend perpetuates imperial violence in Palestine and beyond. I want NYU to reckon with the fact that it profits off of the destruction of Palestinian livelihoods, communities, and homes.” – Bayan Abubakr, Senator-at-Large and Students for Justice in Palestine NYU

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9 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    November 2, 2018, 9:54 am

    First two full episodes of al-Jazeera Lobby USA doc available now on electronicintifada! Part one shows the tactics used against the student BDS movement.

  2. Elizabeth Block
    Elizabeth Block
    November 3, 2018, 10:21 am

    Wow! The first? Not going to be the last.

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 3, 2018, 1:11 pm

    The demand for divestment is only one step and not enough. IMO, the demand is likely to fail (fail to get pro-BDS action from NYU) unless >90% of NYU student voters vote for it, and even so.

    But if that demand is likely to fail (as I expect, with NYU being a conservative institution), why not ALSO demand cutting the NYU-Israel academic cooperation, a demand which will also fail, but which is much more direct as an affront to Israel and a louder statement (via either the student resolution or via the NYU action, if any) ?

  4. Jon66
    Jon66
    November 3, 2018, 4:55 pm

    “the vote will be held by way of secret ballot”
    So much for accountability. If your too ashamed of your vote than perhaps you need to rethink it. How can your constituency judge you if you hide your votes?

    • Emory Riddle
      Emory Riddle
      November 4, 2018, 6:15 am

      The resolution is supported by 53 undersigned student groups, including the Black Student Union; Mosaic: The Interfaith Students of Color Coalition at NYU; NYU College Libertarians; the Muslim Student Association; and NYU Young Democratic Socialists of America. In addition to these clubs, there are 34 faculty endorsements who are listed in Appendix B of the resolution. The presentation of the resolution comes only a week after more than thirty student groups at NYU pledged non-cooperation with the NYU Tel Aviv campus.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      November 4, 2018, 6:19 am

      Who will count the ballots?

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        November 4, 2018, 9:21 am

        They could all vote on paper without names and then count them up together. But the people they represent will still not know how they stand. They want to be able to vote for things that they are ashamed of. If they don’t want to represent then they shouldn’t have run.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 4, 2018, 3:52 pm

      ” How can your constituency judge you if you hide your votes?” “Jon 66”

      From your lips to Canary Mission’s ears, huh?

  5. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    November 7, 2018, 9:18 am

    University of Leeds divests from Israel

    In the first move of its kind, a UK university has divested from companies that supply military equipment to the Israeli army following a student campaign.
    The University of Leeds on Thursday made the decision to divest from three companies which were found to be complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights: Airbus, United Technologies and Keyence Corporation.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181105-in-first-uk-university-divests-from-firms-supplying-israel-army/

    Hats off to the students leading the campaign at the Universty of Leeds.

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