Students Call on WSA to Divest from Israeli Occupation


There are new developments from the ongoing controversy around President Roth’s denunciation of the American Studies Association’s recent resolution supporting the academic boycott of Israeli universities. Alums began circulating a still-growing petition earlier this month expressing support for the ASA decision and criticizing Roth for poor argument and hypocrisy.

Current Wes students, it seems, have followed suit. A separate petition has been making the rounds on email and social media in recent days and has already garnered over fifty signatures. Echoing the alumni declarations of support for the ASA’s boycott, the document also calls on the WSA to divest its own holdings from  “companies that directly profit from or materially contribute to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories”.

If such a resolution is adopted, Wesleyan will be following a long and growing line of universities who have endorsed the BDS movement. Read the full text of the petition after the jump or sign here:

Since July 2005, Palestinian civil society has called on individuals and organizations around the world to divest from and impose broad boycotts against Israel. As a response to Israel’s legalized forms of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement resists Israel’s violent policies through non-violent measures. It aims to pressure Israel into complying with basic international law and ending the destructive policies that have gone on for decades without intervention.

In January of 2013, the American Studies Association (ASA) endorsed the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, only to be harshly denounced by Wesleyan President Michael Roth and many more. As members of the Wesleyan community, we join alumni in endorsing the ASA’s resolution and declare ourselves to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people, scholars, and students who are denied academic freedom under the conditions of Israeli occupation. President Roth does not speak in our name.

We believe it is crucial for US-based organizations, groups, and individuals to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations through measures such as boycott, divestment, and sanctions – the same tactics the international community used to bring an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa, a movement Roth himself actively participated in during the late ‘70’s.

As students and faculty, we support the call of the Palestinian people for boycott, divestment, and sanctions in peaceful resistance to violent occupation at the hands of the Israeli state. We call on the Wesleyan Student Assembly to follow in the footsteps of schools like UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, Oberlin College, University of Massachusetts – Boston, Arizona State University, Hampshire College, University of Michigan – Dearborn, Wayne State University, and many more in divesting from companies that directly profit from or materially contribute to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In solidarity,
Students and faculty of Wesleyan

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9 thoughts on “Students Call on WSA to Divest from Israeli Occupation

  1. binks

    @Osvaldo- quick question… if you feel so strongly about holding a country responsible for it’s human rights violation why wouldn’t you call for the boycott of countries that oppress the rights of gays, oppress and mutilate women, and which do not stand for democracy? there are much worse countries than Israel and given how much Israel supports it’s allies (technologically and medically, research it if you want to know how much we depend on Israel in these fields) it would be foolish to boycott them and not Iran, Russia and North Korea who are currently preparing for a nuclear war against us.

    everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but by not holding other countries to the same standard you hold Israel to, your opinion comes off as biased due to lack of credibility. you need to be held responsible for your inconsistencies.

  2. Nicole

    Feel free to come discuss tonight at the WSA meeting at 8 PM at Usdan 108 – we invite conversation from all sides.

  3. ekoilbob

    I constantly see Wesleying talk about growing movements with these petitions being used as evidence. Can someone explain how – with Wesleyan having tens of thousands of alumni – that a petition with around 100 signatures is in any way significant? I could probably find 50 Wesleyan graduates to sign a petition to name Bart Simpson president of the school; that doesn’t mean there is a growing Bart Simpson tide that Roth needs to respond to.
    Stop using petitions to prop up causes unless they have a meaningful number of signatures, from a wider variety of alumni than just the past ten or so years.

  4. anon

    I find the sign off to this post extremely offensive. The students and faculty are NOT in solidarity on this decision. In fact, I think Michael Roth made the right decision here. Do not sign this “from the students at Wesleyan University” because I do not support this and would never want my name or my school associated with something like this.

    1. um

      yo do you know what a petition is? the undersigned are students and faculty who consider themselves in solidarity

  5. hmmm

    @oswaldo are you using wesleying to promote your student group? i feel like you should disclose that youre a part of SJP when you write these posts

    1. Oswaldo

      Hi Oswaldo here. I made this post because I find the topic very important and of concern to the community. This petition was not put out by SJP (although my guess is they would support its aims) but by a concerned group of students. As for where I stand on the issue, in case there was any ambiguity I support divestment and oppose the occupation. Please keep in mind that we as Wesleying writers make no claims to objectivity. That being said I did my best to report the facts of the story truthfully and without misrepresentation.

    1. slim

      My understanding is that the petition is calling for the WSA to divest its own holdings (WSA has its own small endowment) from Israeli occupation, not calling on the Board of Trustees to divest the Wesleyan Endowment itself.

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