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Petition Tag - bds

1. No to Technion in NYC!

Dear Elected Officials: Ben Kallos, Carolyn Maloney, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Micah Kellner, and Jose Serrano:

We, residents of your District and concerned individuals, are deeply troubled by the proposed plan for Cornell University to partner with The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology to build a campus on Roosevelt Island.

We are particularly concerned in light of the most recent Israeli assault on Gaza, which began on November 14, 2012 and lasted 8 days, killing and maiming hundreds, perhaps thousands of civilians including children, and destroying homes and infrastructure.

On November 18, four days into the Israeli assault on Gaza, as civilians were being massacred, Cornell University President David Skorton visited The Technion in Haifa, Israel as “a true friend of the State Israel.” This visit at the height of Israel’s assault shows institutional support by Cornell for Israel’s aggressive attack, and a shameful disregard for Palestinian lives. Skorton’s visit in turn undermines the sincerity of claims he has made that academics should “connect with colleagues in Israel and the Palestinian Territories."

In a clear violation of the First Amendment, a recent peaceful demonstration at Cornell University’s main campus in Ithaca in support of the people of Gaza was aggressively repressed after pro-Israel students contacted the police claiming the gathering violated Cornell’s campus code because it was held without a permit. However, Cornell University’s Campus Code of Conduct clearly states that there is “no need for a mandatory permit” for such outdoor demonstrations.

We understand that New York City needs to invest in education and training opportunities; however, this should not come at the expense of others who are not given that chance and who suffer human rights abuses. The Technion is deeply involved in the development of weaponized and surveillance drones and has joint programs with two of Israel’s largest weapons manufacturers: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, with which Technion graduates developed the Iron Dome missile defense system used in the recent assault on Gaza; and Elbit Systems, which manufactures Hermes drones used to terrorize and kill civilians in Gaza.

Technologies developed at The Technion and by Technion graduates at companies like these are used to destroy Palestinian houses, farms, business and government buildings, expropriate their water sources, drive them off their land, suppress demonstrations for their rights, and carry out attacks against people in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the region. The Technion is thus directly implicated in war crimes. Detailed information and sources can be found on the NYACT website.

You may not know that The Technion practices institutional discrimination against Palestinian students by severely restricting their freedom of speech and assembly and rewarding Jewish students who, unlike the majority of Palestinians, perform compulsory military service in Israel. Not only do these facts contradict New York City and New York State non-discrimination and equal opportunity laws and Cornell University’s own bylaws, they directly contrast the ideals embodied by the recently opened Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. The park was built to commemorate President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s stated goals of achieving and preserving freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. When President Roosevelt made that speech in 1941, he said that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy those four freedoms, a sentiment which surely must apply to the Palestinian people, as well as all others.

Now that Cornell NYC Tech has completed the seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Process, there is an urgent need to take a stand. This review process enables an opportunity to express opposition to Cornell’s partnership with The Technion and to stand up for your District community’s interests.

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2. Boycott Israeli products and support the BDS Campaign

Since 1948, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.

In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response. On July 9 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience all over the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.

As a result of Israel’s war in Gaza, with its death toll of over 1,300 Palestinians and allegations of multiple war crimes, there has been a large upsurge in support for the already growing global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law and recognises the fundamental human rights of Palestinians.

The BDS campaign has been endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel. It is worth noting that a boycott is also supported by many Israeli citizens and Jewish organizations including European Jews for a Just Peace, Breaking the Law of Return (consisting of over 100 American Jews) Ilan Pappe (Israeli Professor of History based in UK) and Michel Warschawski (Israeli journalist).

Artists who have voiced support for the campaign or cancelled appearances in Israel citing political reasons include musicians Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Gil Scott Heron, Pete Seeger, The Pixies, Roger Waters, writers Eduardo Galeano and Arundhati Roy, filmmakers Ken Loach and Jean-Luc Godard. In 2010, UNITE, the UK’s largest trade union, unanimously called for BDS.

History ultimately proved the effectiveness and necessity of the boycott campaign in helping bring an end to Apartheid in South Africa. Amid the desperate pleas of Palestinians and concerned Israelis, we can no longer resort to the same discredited arguments that were used against boycotting Apartheid South Africa. The illegal Israeli occupation on Palestine must end.

More information can be found at:
http://www.bigcampaign.org/
http://www.bdsmovement.net/
http://www.palestinecampaign.org/

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3. Support Lee Rhiannon and the Boycott Israel Campaign

Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon and the NSW Greens are facing a sustained attack from The Australian newspaper over their support for the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

BDS is not an “extreme” or “radical” policy, but is a response to the 2005 call by Palestinian unions and other organisations to address Israel’s 44 year-long military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza when United Nations resolutions and appeals to International Law have comprehensively failed to end the occupation. In NSW Labor Party Marrickville councillors supported the BDS motion moved by The Greens.

BDS has received worldwide backing from city councils, film festivals, major unions and figures such as anti-apartheid campaigner, Desmond Tutu. We believe The Australian’s attack on Lee Rhiannon is an attempt to undermine the position of The Greens in the federal parliament and more generally.

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4. Reprimand Terrorist-Sympathisers at Marrickville Council, Australia

Ten local councillors from the suburb of Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia, in their official role as elected representatives of approximately 75,000 residents, have put forward an official resolution in December 2010 to:

"...boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, institutional, academic, government or institutional cultural exchanges...".

By this action, the ten councillors have formally aligned their municipality with terrorist organisations seeking to overthrow the State of Israel, the one free and democratic nation in the Middle East, fellow UN member, and notably the only multi-ethnic state in the region where freedom of expression, equality, non-discrimination, free union movements, freedom of press and the rule of law are established and guaranteed. In short, they have espoused totalitarian values over Australian democratic values. They are playing into the hands of the Islamist Global BDS Movement and supporting the Hamas and Hizbollah terror groups and other international racist and anti-Semitic organisations..

This irrational act is not only alarmingly naïve, but by supporting the worldview of totalitarian Islam, represents an appalling abuse of our democratic process.

A council’s brief is to act in the interests of their residents, by organizing such things as rubbish collection, social services, catching stray dogs and regulating fence heights. They are not elected to engage in partisan foreign politics or involve themselves in the domestic affairs of other states. In particular, they must never be seen to side with totalitarian, anti-democratic religious fanatics who use terrorism and murder in seeking to destroy the democratic nation of Israel, with which Australia has strong and friendly relations.

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5. Stop the Machinery of Occupation: Boycott Israel

Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even tacitly take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.” - Mario Savio, Student Leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, 1964

More than four decades of Israeli military occupation have passed, eviscerating the dream of building a viable, sovereign Palestinian state. 500,000 Jewish settlers now live in segregated, heavily fortified colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in violation of international law. They control most of the territory’s best land and water resources—land and water stolen from Palestinians. In Gaza, 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them refugees and terribly poor, are trapped in the world’s largest “open-air prison.”

Closures, checkpoints and roadblocks, targeted assassinations and settler terrorism, home demolitions, military incursions and arbitrary detentions, an economic blockade and massive “Separation Wall,” razed farm land, olive groves and fruit orchards, poisoned wells and livestock, interminable delays in movement—these measures of collective punishment, colonization and ethnic-racial separation make normal life impossible for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

For all who cherish justice and liberty it is time to unite in the cause of freedom for the Palestinian people and send an unequivocal message of nonviolent resistance to the state of Israel, just as we did to South Africa’s Apartheid regime in the 1980s.

It is time to BOYCOTT Israel and all businesses, academic centers and cultural institutions that support, maintain or benefit from the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In 2005, over 170 civic organizations representing the breadth of Palestinian society issued a historic joint call to the world:

"We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace...."

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6. Vermonters - Stop the Machinery of Occupation: Boycott Israel

Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even tacitly take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.” - Mario Savio, Student Leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, 1964

More than four decades of Israeli military occupation have passed, eviscerating the dream of building a viable, sovereign Palestinian state. 500,000 Jewish settlers now live in segregated, heavily fortified colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in violation of international law. They control most of the territory’s best land and water resources—land and water stolen from Palestinians. In Gaza, 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them refugees and terribly poor, are trapped in the world’s largest “open-air prison.”

Closures, checkpoints and roadblocks, targeted assassinations and settler terrorism, home demolitions, military incursions and arbitrary detentions, an economic blockade and massive “Separation Wall,” razed farm land, olive groves and fruit orchards, poisoned wells and livestock, interminable delays in movement—these measures of collective punishment, colonization and ethnic-racial separation make normal life impossible for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

To Vermonters who cherish justice and liberty, who are inspired by the state motto—“Freedom and Unity”—it is time to unite in the cause of freedom for the Palestinian people and send an unequivocal message of nonviolent resistance to the state of Israel, just as we did to South Africa’s Apartheid regime in the 1980s.

It is time to BOYCOTT Israel and all businesses, academic centers and cultural institutions that support, maintain or benefit from the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In 2005, over 170 civic organizations representing the breadth of Palestinian society issued a historic joint call to the world:

"We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace...."

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