Monday, November 29, 2010

"Campuses work to further the BDS movement"

Campuses work to further the BDS movement

By Nick Meyer
Sunday, 11.28.2010, 01:14am


The apartheid situation in South Africa ended in the 1990s in large part because of boycotts on college campuses, and many scholars have argued that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is the most effective way for ending the current blockade and occupation of Palestine by Israeli military forces.

The BDS movement against companies with Israeli ties has been active at American campuses in recent weeks in response to desperate pleas from human rights organizations, the United Nations, and world political leaders to end the occupation.

Sabra hummus removed after divestment push

On November 19, Chicago's DePaul University announced that their dining services organization would discontinue the sale of hummus made by Sabra, an Israeli brand that students have said is known for its vocal and material support of the Israeli army, which has been accused of numerous war crimes in Gaza by the U.N. The products were removed from store shelves for the rest of the semester with a ban likely in the near future according to the Huffington Post.

DePaul's Students for Justice in Palestine organization provided research that the Strauss Group, which co-owns Sabra hummus, had direct monetary ties with Israeli forces that continue to enforce the illegal occupations of Palestinian land.

The boycott is being used as a blueprint for how to effect change at the college level from the ground up.

Sabra hummus is also the target of a boycott launched by The Princeton Committee on Palestine at Princeton University in New Jersey as the group has created a referendum asking the school's dining services to sell an alternative brand of hummus.

EMU in Virginia, University of Southern California pushing for divestment

At Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Virginia, a group of students is pushing for divestment from companies supporting Israel's military as well.

The liberal arts Christian college's Students for Morally Responsible Investment (SMRI) group has met recently with the administration and other Mennonite institutions in an attempt to continue the BDS movement and to promote the peaceful ideals of the Mennonite church.

Divestment resolutions have been passed at various schools across the country including one by the University of Michigan-Dearborn's student government.

The University of Southern California's Students for Justice in Palestine organization is also planning to make its own push for divestment from companies supporting the Israeli military.

Columbia University checkpoints raise awareness

Echoing a demonstration held this year at UM-Dearborn by the Arab Student Union, New York-based Columbia University students dressed as Israeli soldiers stopped other students on their way to class at mock checkpoints resembling those set up in the West Bank in Palestine. The event was held on Thursday, Nov. 18.

Some students were ordered to the ground and blindfolded in demonstrations of life for Palestinians at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

Other students on campus came together for a counter-demonstration, saying that the checkpoints didn't accurately represent the situation in the occupied West Bank.

The Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine said its demonstration was meant to protest human rights violations at checkpoints that many human rights activists have witnessed from their time working in the West Bank.