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New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership: End of Year News (pdf attached)
As 2012 draws to a close, we would like to share some recent NYACT news:
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Palestinian Testimonies and Further NYACT Endorsements
Last month's horrific assault on Gaza by Israel resulted in the killing and maiming of hundreds, perhaps thousands of civilians including children, and the destruction of homes and infrastructure including at least 52 schools. In light of this attack NYACT increased efforts to raise the Palestinian voice in our campaign, and has added an important new page to our website. The Palestinian Testimonies page contains video and narrative testimonies from Palestinian students and faculty describing what it is like to live, study, and teach in Israel and under Israeli occupation. A reminder that our campaign is not about silencing discourse, but about demanding human rights and academic freedom for all.
The only way in which our campaign can be sustainable and effective is if we work together with activists from other areas. Several groups have recently added their names to our growing list of endorsers, and significantly several of them included strong message of support and offers to work with us; an exciting step forward which will help us increase our local network over the coming months. New endorsers include:
• American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
• Muslim Defense Project of the National Lawyers Guild New York City Chapter
• Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (PQBDS)
• Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) – Westchester
• American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP)
• Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace (PJJP)
• Al-Awda NY: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
• Birzeit University Right to Education Campaign; Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine
(see: statement of support, and article in Mondoweiss)
The Technion's Complicity in Israeli State Policy, including "Operation Pillar of Cloud"
The Technion's complicity in Israel's occupation and suppression of Palestinians has been clearly documented. Immediately following Pillar of Cloud (rapidly re-branded "Pillar of Defense" by Israel) The Technion issued a video on YouTube describing just how complicit they are. The American Technion Society also posted an advert in the New York Times (see attached), about the Iron Dome 'defense' system:
"It was developed at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, whose CEO says,"We couldn't have done it without Technion graduates""
An article in Al Jazeera, Normalising death: The business of drones, bought further attention to the fact that Israel's top drones lab has been invited to build in New York City:
"Israel is very well the go-to country for drone technology. The country's academic institutions are principally to thank for that grand achievement.
This symbiotic relationship between academia and drone warfare may well be coming to the US."
And earlier this month from The Times of Israel, Technion Meets New York:
"This is the first time, as far as I am aware, that an Israeli institution will help administer a university campus within the United States"
Universities in Israel and the U.S. Suppress Pro-Palestinian demonstrations
Two days after the "Operation Pillar of Cloud" assault on Gaza ended we announced our online petition (if you've not signed it yet, please do so!). In light of Cornell University President David Skorton's visit to The Technion in Haifa four days into the assault, as “a true friend of the State Israel”, it is
particularly important that we make it clear that this appalling attack illustrates exactly why The Technion is not welcome in New York City. As was the case four years ago after Cast Lead, the recent assault on Gaza highlights the complicity of Israeli universities in Israeli state policy, as well as their aggressive suppression of Palestinian student protests:
"Those who have been reluctant to support an academic boycott of Israel should reflect on what has happened recently. These recent cases show
how Israeli universities identify completely with the State of Israel and go out of their way to drum up support for its crimes against the Palestinian
people. These cases illustrate, too, how Palestinian students are denied their rights in Israel." (EI; 28 Nov 2012)
Israeli universities also made exceptions once again for reservist students who served during assault on Gaza.
Furthermore, at Cornell University's main campus in Ithaca, a recent peaceful demonstration 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. Cornell University’s Campus Code of Conduct clearly states that there is “no need for a mandatory permit” for such outdoor demonstrations. Cornell's Faculty Senate is carrying out an investigation of the police department, administration, and pro-Israeli crackdown of the protest. We wait to read their report. In the meantime, Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine recently issued a fantastic newsletter (see attached) describing the state of Palestinian solidarity work on campus, arguments against the Cornell-Technion partnership, and
discussion of other campaigns.
Finally, The David Project (a Zionist campus-focused hasbara project which aims to "positively shapes campus opinion on Israel") recently issued an "Operation Pillar of Defense: Special Briefing & Discussion Guide for Campus Professionals and Student Leaders". Surely a sign of how afraid Israel is becoming of the campus-based activism, which is at the forefront of the BDS movement in the U.S.
Students Continue to Lead the Way in the U.S. BDS Movement
In Toronto, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University issued an Open Letter to the York University Community urging the York Federation of Students to join the Graduate Students' Association by endorsing the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. And as many of you will have heard the University of Toronto's Graduate Students Union recently voted 97% in favor of endorsing the Palestinian call for BDS. Further good news came earlier this month as we learned that Technion collaborator Elbit Systems was compelled to withdraw from a major French business convention
thanks to BDS pressure. And that the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, at the University of Sydney, refused to cooperate with Tel Aviv and upheld an academic boycott of Israel in response to Israel's policies towards Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
As the BDS movement goes from strength to strength, NYACT needs your help to continue our work. Please spread the word to friends, family, and
colleagues, and if you want to get more involved contact us at: nyact [at] riseup.net
Thank you for your support this year. We wish you all a happy and healthy 2013, and hope to see you out on the streets soon!
New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)
Email: nyact [at] riseup.net
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