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Michjgan Daily 19/11/2005

Divestment an important advance on path to peace

Saturday 19 November 2005

To the Daily:

According to the article Faculty group wants committee on Israel (11/09/2005), the University has not taken a position on Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestinian land. This is not the case; by silencing student voices against the occupation, the University has taken an active role in favor of the occupation.

The letter is written by numerous faculty members is in support of the formation of a committee to investigate the validity of investing in military corporations that fund the atrocious human rights violations taking place in Palestine today. The letter is not in support of terminating relations with all companies doing business with Israel.

Divestment is the most effective way to impact change in oppressive governments. Peace workers in both Israel and Palestine consistently call for divestment, as it is the only viable option. Divestment has historically proven effective at ending oppressive regimes in South Africa and currently in Sudan.

Our role as members of the campus community, as well as the larger American community, is to uphold the endeavors of the oppressed communities to the best of our ability. Anyone in support of Palestinian self-determination will join in solidarity with the occupied people’s request for divestment.

University spokeswoman Julie Peterson’s statement that political and philosophical ideology is irrelevant to the investment portfolio of the University is incorrect. In the same statement, she cited cases in which human rights were in fact relevant -South Africa and tobacco. Upholding human rights is not a political issue, but an obligation that we all have. The University is using politics and bureaucracy to circumvent addressing serious human rights violations in Israel.

Or Shotan’s statement that “There’s not going to be an end to this situation without dialogue” is correct. The creation of a body to investigate the validity of investments is precisely the forum necessary to create productive dialogue beyond a level of theocracy, and opposing the current movement to form this committee is not in support of dialogue, but rather directly contradicts progress.

Rama Salhi

LSA junior

The letter writer is the president of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.