Proposal asks for UW divestment from corporations participating in human rights abuses

Students for Justice in Palestine has taken the lead on the proposition

· Mar 29, 2017 Tweet

Marissa Haegele/The Badger Herald

As the Students for Justice in Palestine prepare to bring a resolution to the Associated Students of Madison Wednesday, some students and student organizations on campus have spoken out against the actions contained in the resolution.

The resolution calls for the University of Wisconsin to break ties with companies that conduct business in Israel, the U.S. and Palestine and they say contribute to human rights violations both in the Middle East and domestically.

Those companies include corporations that develop weapons, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing. They also include banks, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America, which the proposal says own private-prison corporations and have invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The resolution asks for divestment from nearly 20 corporations.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, all people are guaranteed the right to life, liberty and security of person.

The people of Palestine have been denied these rights, according to the proposed resolution. This includes people who live in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and Palestinian refugees outside of Israel and Palestine.

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Zach Urisman, a member of Badgers United Against Hate, doesn’t approve of the resolution. Focusing on the human rights violations in Israel while not addressing the violations in other areas in the Middle East is not the way to solve the issue, Urisman said.

The resolution will divide students on campus in many ways, such as by their ethnicity or their political beliefs, Urisman said.

Urisman said there’s already tension between these groups, including white supremacist graffiti found in UW’s Greek community last year.

“I feel a resolution of this sort would inflame a lot of the hatred that we’ve seen on this college campus and across the country in the past couple of months,” Urisman said.

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Badgers United Against Hate, a new student initiative focused on promoting inclusivity and opposing divestment efforts on campus, said in a Facebook post they are opposed to the resolution. They said the efforts weaken the sense of community on campus and stop dialogue.

According to the Facebook post, the resolution will particularly hurt marginalized students on campus because of lost scholarships, internships and job opportunities.

In an email to The Badger Herald, SJP said the resolution targets corporations’ roles in the U.S., Israel and Palestine. They added the resolution was created “for the struggles” of groups on campus including SJP, MEChA, Wunk Sheek, Jewish Voices for Peace and the Wisconsin Black Student Union.

“We hope to remove our university’s complicity, and thus our own complicity in these corporate human rights abuses,” SJP said. “We condemn all forms of racism and discrimination.”

ASM will vote on the proposal Wednesday.


This article was published Mar 29, 2017 at 7:00 am and last updated Mar 29, 2017 at 1:09 am


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