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”.
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.
Students and faculty of Wesleyan