APRIL 28: Associated Students of UC Berkeley Vote to Divest From Companies That Profit From Israeli Occupation of Palestine

NEWS, 26 Apr 2010

Dana Bergen, Jewish Voice for Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

Every so often, we get a moment when a remarkable future starts to unfold before our eyes. And when it happens, it’s our responsibility to do everything within our power to help it along. One of those moments is happening right now, unbeknownst to most of the world, on the University of California’s Berkeley campus.

Berkeley professors and students of every race, religion, and nationality are standing courageously side by side and calling on the university to divest from companies that profit from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. In March, the student Senate voted 16 to 4 to divest. Then, the Senate president vetoed their vote and last week, after 10 life-changing hours of testimony that lasted through the night, the vote to overturn the veto was tabled.

On April 28, the students will again try to overturn the veto. That’s how many days we have to demonstrate our support and solidarity with these amazing people who are standing for justice for all people in Palestine and Israel. I urge you to stand with them – to let them know that they are not alone.

What happens over the next week in Berkeley is critical, not just for the movement there but for the burgeoning movement around the country. Once again, Berkeley is a birthplace of a movement that could change the course of history. Students all over the United States are watching closely, learning, and preparing a massive divestment campaign the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades, since the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Important? World-changing? Without a doubt.

Last week, I was there during the first attempt to overturn the veto when nearly 900 people packed the room. We were Muslims, Jews, Palestinians, Israelis, Christians; grandmothers and students and everyone in between – the majority in support of divestment. This next vote is even more critical. Most of us can’t be in the room when UC students hold their vote, but we can and must be represented. Our diversity, our staunch support, and our commitment must be represented.

Last week, hundreds in the room wore bright green stickers that said “Another (fill in the blank) for human rights. Divest from the Israeli occupation.” We want your name on those stickers next week.

Please, add your name to the thousands of supporters – you’ll be represented by a bright green statement and we intend to turn the room into a sea of green – a sea of hope and support.

The truth is that the students at UC Berkeley have already won, building on the efforts of students at Hampshire College and the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus. They have secured support from an unprecedented range of people including Nobel prize winners, rabbis, world renown scholars, Israeli and Palestinian peace groups and more. There has never been a debate on an American campus like the debate these students have made happen.

But with your voice, they can make it to the finish line.

Thank you in advance for you help today. These students are making history – and I’m grateful we can count on you to help.

Sincerely,

Dana Bergen
Board President, Jewish Voice for Peace

P.S. We know that those who oppose progress are working to maintain the veto – we need to demonstrate just how widespread support for divestment is. Please spread the word and send everyone to www.StandWithStudents.org. Thank you.

P.P.S: After you sign, please watch this remarkable UC Berkeley testimony from last week by visiting student Ibrahim Shikaki from the West Bank. You can also read JVP’s position on the bill, download some of the statements of Jewish support, and read our report of last week’s hearing.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Apr 2010.

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