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(en) Support the US divestment movement initiative to boycott Israel.

From tanya reinhart <tanya.reinhart@let.uu.nl>
Date Wed, 6 Nov 2002 16:21:24 -0500 (EST)


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Dear Friends:
Last year, many of you signed a letter by Israeli citizens to
the Ann Arbor City Council, urging that body to divest from
companies that did business in Israel, to help end the
occupation and build towards Palestinian-Israeli coexistence.
Since that time, the movement to divest from Israel has
grown considerably, spreading to over 40 college campuses
across the United States. However, with the movement's
increased visibility has come increased--and
unfair--criticism. Most prominently, Harvard University
President, Lawrence Summers and New York Times
Foreign Afffairs Columnist, Thomas Friedman, have labeled
the divestment movement anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and
anti-peace. This, despite the fact that the movement has
consistently condemned all forms of racism and stands quite
firmly for meaningful coexistence among Palestinians and
Jews.

We were approached by US activists in the divestment
movement with the request to help them counter such
accusation by renewing our declaration of support.  They
believe that it is important that as many Israeli Jews as
possible publicly stand in support of the divestment
movement. Such support would indicate to university
officials and the general public that divestment is a legitimate
means to achieve the noble goals of ending occupation and
beginning the process of Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation. It
could also provide a much needed spark to the divestment
movement in the US. Finally, it would embolden many
activists who have now stood silent about the injustice of the
occupation out of fear of being labeled anti-Semitic or
anti-Israeli.

With those goals in mind, on the basis of the previous letter
to the Ann Arbor City Council, we are circulating the similar
letter below urging American city councils, universities, and
institutions to divest from companies that do business in
Israel. We hope that you will sign this letter in the same spirit
as you signed the previous one, or even if you have not
signed the previous one.

You can send your signature to any of us (using reply), but it
would be of great help if you sent it directly to George at
divestmentletter@yahoo.com.

Please mention some affiliation or description with your
signature.  Also, it would be great if you can pass it further
around, to people who did not necessarily see the previous
letter.

Thank you kindly for your time and consideration and we
hope to hear from you.

Rachel Giora,
Anat Matar,
Tanya Reinhart


Statement In Support Of The Divestment Movement

To American City Councils, Universities and Institutions,
We have recently learnt about an initiative of students,
faculty and community members at universities, city
councils and other institutions across the United States
calling upon those bodies to divest from investments that
they may hold in companies or funds that do business in
Israel. We strongly support this call.
All of us, signed below, are Israeli Jews. We understand that,
in the United States, this must be spelled out, because the
words of Palestinians are suspected by your media of lacking
in credibility, or of somehow being inherently anti-Semitic.
Indeed, we understand that the movement for divestment
from Israel on behalf of Palestinian rights has itself been
labeled anti-Semitic. We categorically reject this baseless and
unfair claim!

There are many Israeli Jewish human rights activists,
including ourselves, who are deeply involved in political
activity designed to persuade our government to immediately
end its military occupation of and discrimination against the
Palestinian population. Many of us remember the
effectiveness of the movement to divest from apartheid South
Africa. Indeed, many of us were active in similar campaigns
in the 1970's and 1980's. Thanks partly to the divestment
movement, the Black population of South Africa no longer
faces tanks and police while trying to exercise their basic
political rights, and South Africans have begun the long
process of historical reconciliation.

Drawing inspiration from the movement to divest from
apartheid South Africa, today, many Israeli human rights
activists believe that similar international grassroots pressure
is needed now to force the Israeli government to reconsider
its destructive policies, policies that devastate Palestinian and
Israeli lives alike. Today, the bulk of the Palestinian
population, numbering three million people, lives under the
harshest Israeli military occupation. The ?Israeli
democracy,? which you hear so much about, has absolutely
no force when it comes to these three million human beings,
who have now lived under generations of Israeli military
occupation. The Israeli military has nuclear weapons,
countless helicopter gunships and tanks, and billions of
dollars each year from the United States government.

That overpowering Israeli arsenal now occupies and
endangers a completely helpless Palestinian civilian
population, each person sealed into his or her village by
tanks and barbed wire. The result of this situation has been
nothing less than the destruction of Palestinian society and
the corruption of Israeli democracy.Today, the ruling
coalition in Israel includes extreme rightwing parties which
advocate ethnic cleansing ('transfer') against the
Palestinians. These parties, which in the past were
considered beyond legitimacy, are now holding positions of
power and their views are echoed without shame by senior
members of the military and political systems..

To help avert this immediate danger and transform this
tragic situation from one of unending despair and oppression
to one of everlasting peace and justice, We, the
Undersigned, fervently hope that you will pass the strongest
possible resolution to divest your university, city council or
other institution from any investments, transactions, or
pension funds it may hold in companies or funds that do
business in Israel. Let us encourage the Israeli government,
whose army is more powerful than all of its neighbors
combined, to immediately release the occupied Palestinian
population from this most discriminatory of military
occupations. We do not want the Palestinian people to
remain bottled up, at the mercy of a suffocating military
occupation, any longer.

Rest assured that Israeli and Palestinian opponents of
occupation, who are working together against Israel's
military occupation, will be heartened to know that you have
given us a hearing at your institution. Please urgently
consider divesting from companies or funds that do business
in Israel.
Thank you.
Sincerely
http://www.tau.ac.il/~reinhart



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