John Jay Students: We Stand in Solidarity With Palestinians

The John Jay community stands in full solidarity with Palestinian liberation movements
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The following statement was sent by students of John Jay College to President Karol V. Mason regarding the Palestinian Israeli conflict:

Dear President Mason and John Jay College leadership,

As Israeli bombs rain down on Palestinian families in Gaza, lynch mobs target Palestinian homes and businesses, and Israel continues to ethnically cleanse Palestinians by expelling Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem, Palestine, now is the time for John Jay College to end its role in Israel’s colonization of Palestine.

The John Jay community stands in full solidarity with Palestinian liberation movements.

We also stand in solidarity with Palestinians’ calls for Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, BDS urges individuals, institutions, and states to end all economic support for the apartheid state of Israel. Boycotts also mean that we must end normalization of relations with Israel. We must not normalize genocide through “cultural exchange” or other events which legitimize Israel’s settler-colonialism in Palestine.

We must heed this call. We must end John Jay’s participation in colonization.

We. the undersigned John Jay and CUNY students, faculty, student groups, and allied non-CUNY organizations, demand the following:

1. Divest: CUNY’s immediate divestment from companies which aid in Israeli colonization and war crimes. As of 2014, CUNY invests at least $1,093,900 in weapons manufacturers such as Boeing, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon; tech and security companies such as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, G4S, and Motorola Solutions; and construction firms such as Caterpillar and Cemex. As the 2018 CUNY Apartheid Divest Resolution shows, these companies supply bombs and fighter jets to the Israeli military, help surveil Palestinian movement, provide demolition equipment that is used against Palestinian homes, and aid in constructing illegal Israeli settlements. President Karol Mason and John Jay administration must publicly advocate for CUNY to divest from all such companies. We refuse for our tuition money to be invested in apartheid. We refuse to fund our education with genocide.

2. IDF Off Campus! Ban Israeli army officials from speaking at John Jay events. In April 2018, a senior official in the Israeli army was invited to speak about Israeli military ethics at a John Jay event. cosponsored by John Jay’s psychology department. Given the Israeli Occupation Forces’ repeated war crimes and human rights violations, it is absolutely unacceptable for the Israeli army or its members to be invited to speak on campus. It is unacceptable for any war criminal or terrorist to be allowed on campus. The presence of such individuals is a safety threat to John Jay students. As Israeli forces massacre Palestinians right before our eyes, IDF members must not be allowed to perpetuate the lie of being “the most moral army in the world.” The College must henceforth ban and terminate invitations to or reservations by the Israeli military, its members, and affiliates.

3. Cultural Boycott: Ban Israeli cultural groups and artists from performing at John Jay events or utilizing campus spaces such as the Gerald Lynch Theater. As the BDS website states, “Israel overtly uses culture as a form of propaganda to whitewash or justify its regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people. Just as South African anti-apartheid activists had called on international artists, writers and cultural institutions to culturally boycott South Africa,” we urge John Jay College to immediately ban any future events involving Israeli cultural groups and artists. We refuse to normalize apartheid on our campus through cultural productions.

4. Solidarity: Release a statement in solidarity with Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students and with Palestinian resistance. Colonized peoples have a right to resist their colonizers. Many John Jay students are the products of anti-colonial resistance. Many of our ancestors were colonized as recently as our grandparents and parents. There is no decolonizing the college without actual decolonization. We don’t want another e-mail condemning hate. We don’t want your solidarity if it doesn’t come with solidarity for Palestine. With at least 201 killed in Gaza, including 58 children, at least 1,300 wounded, and over 38,000 now homeless from Israeli airstrikes, we demand complete and total support for Palestinian anti-colonial resistance.

Future generations will remember the Palestinian liberation movement as we remember the movement against South African apartheid. Now is the time to take a bold and moral stance.

Now is the time to end any and all support for Israel’s colonialism and apartheid.

Signed,

John Jay Students and Allies

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