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Activists begin Regular Protest Schedule at Google/Cornell-Technion Site in Chelsea
After leafleting on the opening day of classes of Cornell NYC Tech on Martin Luther King Day, New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT) will return this Tuesday to kick off a regular bi-weekly leafleting schedule. NYACT will be protesting outside the Chelsea offices of Google, which is hosting Cornell NYC Tech classes until a permanent facility is built on Roosevelt Island, and are asking that Google not support this initiative, and that Cornell University and New York City end their collaboration with Technion, in line with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel.
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Technion is Israel’s foremost research and development institution for weapons, including weaponized and surveillance drones, remote-controlled bulldozers, and other instruments of death and destruction used to maintain an apartheid system against Palestinians and for use in wars against Israel’s Arab neighbors. NYACT denounces Google’s gift of free office space to the Cornell-Technion Partnership, as well as the $100 million in funds and $300 million in real estate granted by New York City to the questionably fast-tracked venture. The opposition to Technion in New York comes amidst heightened controversy over the use of drones, a Technion specialty, including an announcement on January 25 by Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-terrorism, that he will head an investigation into the use of drones by the US, UK, and Israel. Emmerson said he will focus on 25 “cases studies from Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the OPTs (occupied Palestinian territories) and to examine the evidence in detail with a view to determining whether there is a plausible allegation of unlawful killing.” If there is finding that some of the attacks were unlawful, Emmerson said, it could trigger “international law obligations to investigate.” Drone critics have pointed out that the nature of drones themselves makes remote killing easier and more likely to result in civilian death or injury (both by design and by accident). Technion also boasts openly that its model for academia means less science and more profits. “Focusing on profitability can mean less attention to pure science. ‘I'm not saying you will abandon basic research, but the institution has to have an auxiliary business - that is now required not only by the public, but by the students,’ he [Benjamin Soffer, Technion's technology transfer manager] said.” (Crain's New York Business, January 22, 2013 ). With this mindset it’s no wonder Technion and its partners appear oblivious to the deadly consequences of the research and development in which the institution specializes. Technion is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians, specifically by designing military weapons and developing technologies that are used to drive Palestinians off their land, suppress demonstrations for their rights, and carry out attacks against people in Lebanon, Gaza, and elsewhere. For these reasons, Technion is directly implicated in war crimes. Furthermore, Technion practices institutional discrimination against Palestinian students by severely restricting their freedom of speech and assembly, and rewarding Jewish students who, unlike most Palestinians, perform compulsory military service in Israel. This is in direct contrast to Cornell University’s founding values of universalism and inclusion embodied in the university’s motto “any person any study.” Technion helps to produce weapons and surveillance equipment for the Israeli army, including drones, and it works closely with Rafael Advanced Systems and Elbit Systems, two companies that provide the Israeli military with crucial equipment to maintain the occupation. Academics from the school have formulated plans for the Israeli Jewish takeover of the Galilee. “For decades, Technion has provided the brains Israel required to create the elaborate mechanism of control undergirding its occupation of Palestine,” noted journalist Max Blumenthal when the partnership was first announced. “Through its partnership with Israel's burgeoning arms industry, Technion's creations have been imported to armed forces around the world. In the words of Israeli researcher Shir Hever, Technion ‘has all but enlisted itself in the military.’” Among those protesting Cornell NYC Tech are Cornell University students outraged at the Cornell-Technion Partnership’s violation of Cornell’s own rules for consulting staff and faculty over such business collaborations. NYACT has also denounced the callous disregard for the health, safety and housing needs of Roosevelt Island residents. New Yorkers with serious disabilities and life-threatening medical conditions are being displaced by the City from the Coler-Goldwater Hospital in deference to the Partnership. NYACT members have attended several Roosevelt Island community meetings in an effort to forge an alliance with residents, patients and healthcare workers whose lives will be disrupted or even jeopardized by Cornell and Technion. NYACT is gathering signatures on a petition demanding an end to private and public support for the Cornell-Technion Partnership (online at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-technion-in-nyc.html ). The campaign against the Cornell-Technion Partnership is part of a global effort in support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against institutions doing business with apartheid Israel.
NYACT and supporters will host a regular leafleting vigil every other Tuesday starting January 29th, from 5-7pm, at the Google offices, 111 Eighth Ave (at 15th St), New York City. For more information: http://www.NYACT.net NYACT [at] riseup.net New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)