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Petition

Calling on the SU to stand in solidarity with Palestine

by FATIMA MAHMOOD 27 May 2021, 17:49

Category: Petition

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Dear Huddersfield Students’ Union,

 

We, the BAME Ambassadors, are writing to you, regarding the violence that is unfolding in Palestine. As a result, we have felt inclined to question where our own actions and consumer choices may be fuelling this violence.

 

In 2020, it was found by The Palestine Solidarity Campaign that over 100 UK universities invest in Israeli companies linked to violations of international law, to the tune of over £450m. As a groups of students who are greatly concerned by the violence that is being inflicted upon Palestinians, we are dismayed and greatly disappointed to find that our institution is subsidising this violence through financial investments in such companies. 

 

The evictions that are happening in Sheikh Jarrah are an international violation of human rights according to the UN: "In many cases in East Jerusalem, including in Sheikh Jarrah, the forced eviction of Palestinians is occurring within the context of Israeli settlement construction and expansion, illegal under international humanitarian law. Some of these are based on pre-1948 claims, while Palestine refugees are discriminatorily banned from reclaiming their properties/homes lost in West Jerusalem in 1948. However, under international law, an occupying power is obligated to respect the laws in force of the occupied territory, unless absolutely prevented. Claims brought by Israeli settler organisations following Israel’s occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem, are disputed."

 

As a group of students, we are writing to you, the Students’ Union to request that you take action and join the movement across higher education to demand that our universities divest from the genocide, and human rights abuses being inflicted upon Palestinians. Despite the ceasefire, the apartheid and violence continues.  As a higher education institution, we not only have an ethical responsibility to the students of this university, but to broader society at a local and global level. We have a moral obligation to not fuel, fund or participate in colonialism and violence. One day history will look back at this and ask why so many universities invested in violence, and why some chose to remain silent.

 

As a Students’ Union, it is likely that you receive a block grant from the University of Huddersfield each year, therefore the union isn’t removed from this equation and is a direct beneficiary of the university’s investments. Furthermore, Students’ Unions are typically registered as charities, which are by definition are set up for public benefit - arming and investing in settler-colonialism only benefits the oppressors. 

 

Therefore, we are urging Huddersfield Students’ Union to take responsibility by speaking up and joining the hundreds of students across the United Kingdom who are demanding that their university divest. Other students’ unions such as Goldsmiths, Manchester and Leicester have already committed to joining the movement and have been actively lobbying their university to do the right thing. Alongside this, the University and Colleges Union (Goldsmiths), Centre for Gender Studies (Cambridge University) and UCL Arab and North African Society have also released open letters - just to name a few. 

We support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement as it is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. It is a call from Palestinians to place non-violent pressure on Israel in order to comply with the international law. The BDS Movement is a global movement made up of academic associations, unions and grassroots movements across the world. We would like the SU to show support to the movement and adhere to the main aims. Here is the link to learn more about the BDS Movement, https://bdsmovement.net/.

Here is useful thread:

https://twitter.com/bdsmovement/status/1398709994099560451?s=21

 

As a group of students, we are calling on the officers of the Huddersfield Students’ Union to represent the needs and concerns of students and take the following actions:

 

  1. The Students’ Union should issue a statement or open letter in solidarity with Palestinians, calling on other Students’ Unions and Universities to divest from the ongoing apartheid and violence in Palestine.
  2. Issue a Freedom of Information request to the University of Huddersfield, asking that the University provide us with the latest figures and divest from these companies.
  3. Lobby our university to divest from companies that are either directly or indirectly complicit in Israeli violations of international law, including the genocide and apartheid of Palestinians.
    1. If we have an ethical investment policy, demand that this be updated to include no ‘direct or indirect’ complicity in Israeli violations of international law. 
    2. If we do not have an ethical investment policy, demand that we create an ethical investment policy which reflects the above.
  4. Sign the pledge to be #ApartheidFree, https://www.palestinecampaign.org/apartheid-free-pledge/

We trust that our Students’ Union will do the right thing.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours Sincerely,

The BAME Ambassadors 

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