The legislation calls on the administration to divest from companies involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The ASUCI Legislative Council passed Resolution 48-15, calling for the end of UC investments to companies that, according to the legislation, “participate in or profit from” the Israeli occupation of Palestine at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13. In attendance at the meeting were UC Irvine students and staff, as well as activists who oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Resolution 48-15 calls for the UC system to withdraw their investments from companies whose goods and services aid the Israeli forces in their occupation of Palestinian territory. Among the companies targeted are Caterpillar, Raytheon, Cemex, Cement Roadstones Holding, sodastream, General Electric and L-3 Communications.
The Council believes that the actions of these companies in the occupied territories warrants the divestment mentioned in the resolution by the UC system.
News of this resolution drew many to the meeting on Tuesday. The room was full of occupants and many had to stand due to a lack of chairs in Woods Cove. Those in attendance used the opportunity to speak to the audience and to the Council to show their support for the resolution. A few individuals in the audience who had been to the occupied territories spoke about their experiences there and why they view the Israeli occupation as unjust. Others made appeals for the council to support the resolution and gave their reasons for opposing the Israeli occupation.
None of those who spoke opposed the resolution or tried to defend Israel’s policies in the occupied territories.
Some UCI students in the audience, such as graduate student Asaad Traina, expressed their gratitude toward the council for bringing up the resolution and opposing the occupation. Traina was especially thankful because he was fearful that such a move against the occupation would not happen at UCI before he graduated.
“Now that I’m leaving UCI, I’m really happy that this particular resolution is coming to fruition now and that this might happen before I graduate and that makes me very happy,” Traina said.
Other UCI students also voiced their support of the resolution as well. Others in the audience such as Estee Chandler, a representative for the Jewish Voice for Peace in LA also spoke against Israeli policies involving Palestine and supported measures to limit funding to the Israeli government through boycotts and divestments from companies that support Israel. She argued that Israelis and Jews could protest Israel’s actions while protecting Jewish interests.
“[Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions] are not anti-Semitic. It is intervention,” Chandler said. “Many Jews, Israelis included, would be very happy to see Jewish self-determination fulfilled in an Israeli-Palestinian entity or entities that replace Jewish ethnocracy.”
Guests at the meeting were not the only ones to speak out against Israeli actions. Council members such as At-Large Representative Nicole Hisatomi also voiced their concerns for the resolution and their opposition to the occupation before the vote. Hisatomi called for other members of the Council to support the divestment and vote yes on the legislation.
“I really want to stress how important [the resolution] is and how many lives we could change just by voting now, and it doesn’t seem like a big act when we ask you to raise your hand when you’re in favor, but it really is, and our legislation could be the start of every other UC following suit,” Hisatomi said.
Other Council members such as At-Large Representative Reza Zomorrodian, Humanities Representative Shadi Jafari, Social Science Representative Emily Larin, Social Science Representative Hassan Mukhlins, and Engineering Representative Angela Yu also voiced their support for the resolution before the vote and attempted to persuade other Council members to vote for it as well.
The resolution was passed unanimously by the Council and will be reviewed by the ASUCI Judicial Board.
The UCI administration has issued a statement stating such divestment as outlined in the resolution is not the policy of the campus or the UC. Such action is required only when the U.S. government deems it necessary.
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