Posters Calling For Divestment From Turkey, England Not Part of SFP


If you’ve walked through the Science Center or King recently, you’ve probably seen some posters calling for divestment from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and England. Students for a Free Palestine did not put these posters up. We do not post anonymous messages because we believe people should be accountable for their words. We take pride in being a transparent organization, and we value opportunities to engage in constructive discussion.

We infer that these anonymous posters are a response to the Oberlin Divest campaign since there are currently no other divestment campaigns at Oberlin. These anonymous posters imply that Oberlin Divest should not focus on the Israeli government’s actions, but should address the ethically questionable actions of all governments. This implication is problematic for several reasons.

First, Oberlin Divest does not call for divestment from Israel; it calls for divestment from six specific companies that directly profit from and enable the illegal Israeli occupation and op- pression of Palestinian people, and for no further investments in all companies involved in is- sues specifically outlined in the resolution. Despite this significant mistake in analysis, we will still answer the question of why this campaign should focus on Israel’s actions in particular. (Some of the following points are modified from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s FAQ page found at www.

1) The United States singles out Israel by providing more economic and military aid to Israel than any other country in the world and bolstering Israel’s disregard of international law with over 50 U.N. Security Council vetoes of resolutions condemning Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians. Since the U.S. government aids Israel’s actions, our position as students at an American college implicates us in these actions.

2) Israel has the highest number of U.N. resolution violations of any country in the world. Other countries are held accountable for their transgressions while Israel enjoys special immunity due to unwavering U.S. support. All countries should be held to the same standard; this campaign addresses the disparity in the application of international law.

3) Divestment is a specific tactic intentionally selected for multiple reasons. Over 100 Palestinian civil society organizations have called on all people of conscience throughout the world, including those within Israel, to embrace this nonviolent tactic. We therefore see it as our responsibility to participate. Divestment is a particularly effective strategy in this situation because the Israeli government is especially interested in its international reputation. While opposition to all human rights violations is ethically consistent with this campaign, the specific tactic of divestment from all implicated companies is impractical. (To learn more about the ethical implications of Oberlin’s broader financial decisions, or to get involved, contact the Responsible Investing Organization at [email protected]).

These anonymous posters also imply that Oberlin Divest prioritizes the pursuit of justice for Palestinians over others; this is simply false. Oberlin Divest is part of a greater commitment to global justice and anti-racism, and this commitment was made clear from its beginning. As explained at Divestment 101, the six companies were selected not only to represent the broad range of issues facing Palestinians, but also to represent a broad range of global issues including but not limited to: environmental degradation, land appropriation, prison justice, drone use and border militarization. The resolution itself draws connections between related international and domestic issues, including the use of the same companies’ equipment at the U.S.-Mexico border. We have consistently invited individuals and organizations to discuss the interconnectedness of these issues and continue to welcome collaboration.

Suggesting that people shouldn’t act in support of justice in one context unless they’re working equally hard on seeking justice everywhere has a dangerous result: overwhelming people to the point of immobilization. Don’t let yourself become immobilized. You can and should act.

SFP can be contacted at sfp. [email protected] Meetings are held Tuesdays in Wilder at 9 p.m., and Wednesday tabling occurs in Mudd from 7 to 10 p.m.

In solidarity,

College senior on behalf of Students for a Free Palestine