Open Letter to the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley on their courageous Israeli Divestment Bill
NOBEL LAUREATES, 26 April 2010
by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate - TRANSCEND Media Service
Dear Members of the ASUC Senate,
I fully support and thank you for the courageous decision that you took on 18th March, 2010, to pass ‘A Bill in Support of U.C. Divestment from War Crimes’.
This decision showed maturity and real leadership at a time when it is urgent for courageous voices to break the ‘silence’ – speak out against Israeli war crimes, and stand up for humanitarian, international law, and Palestinian rights. In so doing, you take your place in a long and honourable tradition within the University of California of championing human rights and civil liberties. History will recall that you chose to stand for truth, justice, human dignity, by refusing to allow the immoral, illegal and brutal policies of the Israeli government to continue unchallenged.
There is nothing anti-Semitic in taking this stand, and those of us who will continue to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, until Israel changes its illegal policies, are not anti-Semitic, but pro-peace and advocates for genuine democracy and human rights for all people.
The attacks on Gaza, which resulted in the death of over l,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including hundreds of women and children, constitute war crimes, and grave violations of the Geneva Conventions and other humanitarian laws. The continued blockade of Gaza is shameful and criminal, and the international community has a legal and moral responsibility to do what it can to help end this intolerable situation.
The 2005 call from the Palestinian civil society to activists around the world to adopt the BDS campaign offered all of us an effective, nonviolent strategy. Divestment helped change the course of history in South Africa, and it can do the same for Israel/Palestine. It may take time, but your actions will give hope to the Palestinian people and inspire others to join this growing BDS campaign.
Many Palestinians and Israelis who passionately want a just and peaceful Israel/Palestine are depending on you, their American friends, to follow your conscience and do what is fair and just in this case.
We are all rightly inspired by the courage of the Palestinian people, and the Israeli peace activists, and their perseverance in continuing their nonviolent struggle for peace and justice. They give us hope for humanity. In passing this Bill you will give them hope and encouragement to continue believing peace is possible, and working until peace and justice comes to Israel/Palestine and the Middle East.
Thank you, Peace, Salaam, Shalom.
Mairead Maguire is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, and a co-founder of Peace People in Northern Ireland.
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