Divestment From Israel Is a Necessity
By Ruperta Kaihau
Special to the Daily Cal
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Category: Opinion > Op-Eds
I am proud of the UC Berkeley students who have supported the endorsement of the ASUC bill urging UC divestment from companies that supply Israel with materials used by their military.
When I read the article that contributing writer Allie Bidwell wrote regarding the momentous and significant milestone, it confounded me that she chose to showcase the opinions of Rachel Horning (a sophomore, sociology major) who clearly opposes the bill.
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, she chose to close the article with the opinions of Noah Stern (the Student Action Senator and presidential candidate) who claims he does not support the bill at all. In fact, she completely denigrates the bill altogether by posting his opinion that he is pro-peace, pro-negotiation and pro-reconciliation but the bill does not foster any of those qualities.
What the Israeli military did in Gaza back in December 2008 was abominable, killing an estimated 1,100 to 1,400 Palestinians, many of which were innocent, unarmed women and children. There were only 13 Israeli soldiers that were killed.
How can you justify such a slaughter when the Israeli military are armed with the most advanced weapons, missiles, bombs, jet-fighters, tanks and rifles and the Palestinians had nothing but homemade rockets and stones to defend themselves? Evidence has also been found that the Israeli military even used phosphorous bombs upon the Palestinian population. How can Americans continue to support such heinous tactics? There are Palestinian boys who are being shot in the head by Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border because they are throwing stones.
How is that acceptable? The borders surrounding Gaza have been closed for months and the Israeli military has prevented other nations from contributing materials to the people in Gaza to rebuild their schools, homes and infrastructure. Is it not clear that they prefer that the Palestinian people suffer and die altogether?
I am deeply disappointed that The Daily Californian would publish Allie Bidwell's article which is clearly biased in favor of those opposing the passing of the bill. Why did she not interview students at UC Berkeley of Palestinian descent or others who approved the bill? She only quoted Liz Hall (a Boalt Hall law student who is Jewish) in approval of the bill, but it was merely a one-liner whereas the opinions of Rachel Horning and Noah Stern were given much more emphasis and concluded the article.
In April 1986, there were 89 students at UC Berkeley that were arrested after building a shantytown in front of the Chancellor's office in protest of apartheid in South Africa and their desire for divestment from all companies that traded or did business with South Africa.
As a result of this and other parts of the divestment campaign along with many to follow at other UC campuses, the University of California authorized the withdrawal of $3.1 billion worth of investments from the apartheid South African state that July. Nelson Mandela himself stated that the University of California's massive divestment was significant in abolishing apartheid in South Africa.
Irrefutably, your students at UC Berkeley have created an impetus for monumental change that effected change in South Africa to bring the majority of that population freedom and justice. It is clear to me that there are students there on your campus now that have answered the call to continue the legacy and rally support for the Palestinian people. I ask that you represent them fairly and let their voices be heard impartially and without bias in The Daily Californian.
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