Widgets Magazine


Op-Ed: Campaign Restore Hope Already Succeeding

In Tuesday’s Daily, a kind, honest, and warm friend of mine, Yishai Kabaker, submitted an opinion piece (“We Choose to Invest”, May 4) in which he highlighted a new campaign by the Stanford Israel Alliance (SIA) to invest in rebuilding the lives of my people – the Palestinians. The moment I read this new proposal, I knew Campaign Restore Hope (CRH), a campaign being led by a diverse coalition of Stanford undergraduates, and vocally supported by many hundreds of students on campus only a few days after its launch, had succeeded in making its first positive mark on our university. I want to personally thank SIA for their proposal, and offer them the full assistance of CRH. We will include their proposal with our list of 6 creative ways to end the conflict. This list includes plans such as arranging a trip for Stanford entrepreneurial students and professors to work with scientists and engineers to develop alternative energy systems that can satisfy impoverished populations’ energy necessities.

There are a few mistakes and misconceptions presented in my friend Yishai’s op-ed, however, that I would like to mend.

The first misconception is that investment in building infrastructure is a substitute for divestment. Investing in infrastructure without first divesting from companies that actively destroy it and severely violate intrinsic human rights is akin to providing a bludgeon to a criminal and Band-Aids to his victim – doing so ignores the root causes of the problem. Furthermore, although I understand why Jews and Palestinians may want to invest in peace, I do not expect my Bosnian, Tibetan, and Bangladeshi friends at Stanford to do so. It would be nice if they all did, but they are under no ethical obligation to do so and have other issues they care about. Contrarily, we all have a moral obligation to make sure that we are not lending ourselves to human rights abuses. Our proud university clearly promises to “take ethical factors into consideration” and has set ethical responsibility policies.

The second misconception is assuming that Campaign Restore Hope will be as divisive as other divestment campaign. This campaign is different, firstly because it is not only a divestment push, but a push for educating the student body, opening up dialogue, and uniting the campus community around a common cause. We are supported by a wide range of students from diverse backgrounds. It’s about the 53,000 elementary, high school and college students being obstructed from getting to their schools. It’s about the 3.5 million people who are prevented from accessing water. It’s about the workers who are called monkeys, thrown on palm trees for hours, and forced to defecate while they latch on for their lives. It’s about those who languish in poverty because international aid is being funneled by corrupt leaders. And it’s about standing up to those who spread hate and anti-Semitism.

The restore hope campaign is guided by a great felling of love for our common humanity, and that’s why it’s spreading so quickly.

One of the things I learned at Stanford, an intrinsic American value, is that we should never turn our backs to an issue because it’s too complex, difficult or divisive. Is divisiveness a good reason to ignore human rights abuses? Dr. King and President Lincoln didn’t think so. This country and our university were built by those who sought to answer complex and divisive questions, and we need to keep this precocious fire burning by tackling one of the most difficult issues of our time. The Restore Hope Campaign is a creative way of doing just that, and it is open source so anyone can join.

Let’s work on ending injustice together. Instead of discussing this important issue on the Daily’s editorial page, on flyers, or through websites, let’s do it face to face. Let’s have a campus wide constructive town-hall meeting where we can all come together, discuss the topics and objectives academically, awe the cynics, and restore hope to millions.

Fadi Quran ’10
Campaign Restore Hope

  • Sabers

    Great Op-Ed. I wish the campaign the greatest success!

  • reader


    Could you specify what companies you are talking about, and what metrics are used to determine whether a company is engaged in unacceptable behavior? Obviously denigrating workers in the manner you described ought to be criminal. In what cases are firms denying children the right to an education, or denying people access to water?

    Your points all seem valid, but additional transparency would bolster your claim that this is a nuanced divestment rather than a blunt attack on the Israeli state, which in our polarized climate is likely what many will interpret it to be.

    -a reader

  • Fadl


    While not Fadi, I too am a member of campaign restore hope. Thank you for your interest in the issue reader. We would be more than happy to specify the exact companies that are in question. Many dorms have already received information material about these companies. If you have not personally received one yet you will hopefully receive one in the next few days. Also there is a teach-in on thursday from 7-8 which will clarify these issues and of course be open to dialogue and questions. If you cannot make it then or wish to obtain the material even sooner please email the campaign at campaignrestorehope@gmail.com.

  • Fadi Quran

    The companies are below.

    Elbit Systems Ltd.

    Violation of the Right to Education:
    i) Assists in disrupting the education of over 53,000 college, elementary and high school students .
    ii) Assists in preventing 6832 college, elementary and high school students from receiving an education .
    Violation of the Right to Access to Water:
    i) Complicit in blocking access to water. As a result a population of 3.5 million is only allowed to consume 48% of the World Health Organization’s recommended amount of water per capita. This leads to the spread of disease, and the destruction of agriculture and industry .
    Violation of the Right to Freedom of Movement:
    i) Directly complicit in preventing a population of over 100,000 civilians from accessing families, farms, and their work places .
    Violation of the Right to Health:
    i) Ensures the obstruction of 40,000 civilians from accessing doctors and hospitals in emergencies. Policy has resulted in prolonged human suffering, trauma, severe health complications, and death .

    Hadiklaim Ltd.

    Violation of Basic Labor Rights by :
    i) Leaving laborers on 10-20 feet high trees for 7 – 10 hours per day, forcing them to eat, urinate, and defecate while on trees, and calling them “monkeys.”
    ii) Not recognizing labor unions, and punishing those who decide to organize.
    iii) Theft of agricultural land from indigenous farmers.
    iv) Financially and economically assisting in the perpetuation of violent conflict and oppression that results in indigenous unemployment rates of 23% – 40%.
    v) Ignores worker health and safety regulations.
    vi) Abuses child laborers.
    Tarifi Cement Ltd.
    Corruption : Diversion of International Aid for personal use.

    Violations similar to those committed by Elbit systems Ltd above.

    Dar Alnashr Lilhaya’a Masria Iilijaz AlIlmi

    Publishes anti-Semitic hate speech and incitement.
    Publishes materials supporting violence against innocent civilians and women.

    – Dima Qato, Shannon Doocy, Debra Tsuchida, Gregg Greenough, and Gilber Burnham. 2007. West Bank Barrier Decreases Access to Schools and Health Services. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. Academic Affiliations: The John Hopkins University Center Refugee and Disaster Response. Save the Children USA.
    – United Nations: Office of the High commissioner for Human Rights. 2007. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard
    – UNICEF Humanitarian Action: Partnering for Children in Emergencies. Report 2010.
    See: http://www.unicef.org/har2010/files/UNICEF_Humanitarian_Action_Report_2010-Full_Report_WEB_EN.pdf
    – Right to Education Campaign. 2009. Birzeit University. West Bank. See: http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/
    Ibid – Disruption is defined as setting obstacles that hinder or seek to block children and college students from receiving an education. Prevention is defined as not allowing or blocking students from receiving an education.
    World Bank Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development. April 2009.
    “Movement and Access Restrictions in the West Bank: Uncertainty and Inefficiency in the Palestinian Economy”. World Bank. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2010-04-21. “OCHA Closure Update”. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2008-05. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
    Ibid – See footnotes 1, 2 and 3.
    Giti Ginat. Dates of Infamy. Haaretz Newspaper. Israel. See: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/762889.html
    Kav La’Oved 2009 Report. Dangerous Working conditions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwTZ2xeSAkM
    Kav La’Oved and the Alternative Information Center. Socioeconomic Bulletin No. 25 . http://www.alternativenews.org/images/stories/downloads/Economy_of_the_occupation_25.pdf
    By Conviction, Not by Infliction: The Internal Debate over Reforming the Palestinian Authority. Menachem Klein. Middle East Journal, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Spring, 2003), pp. 194-212

  • kim

    This is a regular dirty divestment attempt covered up by a soft, vague, dishonest name. They also add some other useless ideas so that it can’t be labeled a blatantly anti-Israel proposal. Do they think we’re stupid?

    Why do they target the one country in the middle east with respect for human rights and democracy?

  • The real injustice

    The real injustice is that there are currently 56 Muslim states. 22 of these states are members of the Arab League. What everyone seems to be missing, is that this conflict is about carving the 57th Muslim – 23rd Arab state out of the world’s only Jewish state – the size of New Jersey.

    The offer of the SIA to work to invest in this 57th Muslim-23rd Arab state is a most generous offer considering that there has been huge investments from the world already (think UNRWA with funding mainly from Western nations) and that it just seems to get worse over there. The Arabs of Palestine and everywhere else have still failed to recognize even the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Read their Charter(s).

  • J Lo

    Does this anti-Israel group actually want the ASSU to be debating foreign policy matters? Is that what the ASSU is about? And of all countries, to target Israel? Israel is an amazing country, despite what Muslims want you to think.

  • mmm….propaganda


    “have a campus wide constructive town-hall meeting”:

    The Stanford jewish community has been talking with you for months about that. Instead, you have chosen, again, to pursue a highly divisive and totally needless divestment campaign. And let’s be entirely honest-trying to sugarcoat the issue is a poor attempt to hide the fact this is the same effort that rightfully failed three years ago.

    If you are so intent on fostering a wide-ranging debate, why are you recklessly attempting to force divestment onto the ASSU and this University? Unless this campus wants polarized debate that will split communities and faiths, then the divestment attempts should be dropped.

    This is a college campus – there should, no, must be thoughtful discussion and discourse. What there should not be is needless internecine animosity that in fact stymies reasonable disagreement in favor of emotionally driven rancor.

  • Joseph Stiglitz

    Excellent article Fadi! I applaud your and CRH’s efforts! Despite the blatantly xenophobic comments above, I hope you keep your head up and continue pushing for peace, education, and equality.

  • Mohammad Ali

    The divestment campaign is a student issue because our university’s investments could be severely violating human rights and causing substantial social harm in the region. Moreover, since these human rights violations prevent 53,000 students from getting to school, it is our role as students to bring attention to their situation, and help them access the education that we ourselves take for granted.

    This is not about targeting one specific country; the four companies Campaign Restore Hope is focusing on include an Egyptian company and a Palestinian company also. Nor is this divestment unprecedented: Norway’s government, South Africa’s government, and the London School of Economics have all divested from some of the companies we have targeted.

    As university students, we have seem campaigns for highlighting the human rights violations in Darfur, in Tibet, and in Congo. This is no different–and that is why hundreds of students have already expressed support for Campaign Restore Hope.

    For more information, you can visit http://campaignrestorehope.blogspot.com/

  • J Lo

    What xenophobic comments? I don’t see anything close to xenophobic.

  • citizen

    This is a great op-ed, Fadi. I support CRH’s efforts and the broader movement for peace and justice in the Middle East. Keep up the great work.

  • The real injustice

    Campus Hypocrisy By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    Memo to professors and students leading the divestiture campaign: Your campaign for divestiture from Israel is deeply dishonest and hypocritical, and any university that goes along with it does not deserve the title of institution of higher learning…

    You are also hypocrites.
    – How is it that Egypt imprisons the leading democracy advocate in the Arab world, after a phony trial, and not a single student group in America calls for divestiture from Egypt? (I’m not calling for it, but the silence is telling.)
    – How is it that Syria occupies Lebanon for 25 years, chokes the life out of its democracy, and not a single student group calls for divestiture from Syria?
    – How is it that Saudi Arabia denies its women the most basic human rights, and bans any other religion from being practiced publicly on its soil, and not a single student group calls for divestiture from Saudi Arabia?

  • complete ;)

    Great article Fadi, I really applaud the way you are promoting a campaign of love, which some people choose to ignore completely. I hate the fact that some people are trying to play the “anti-Israel” card and trying to make this into a political issue. This a HUMAN RIGHTS issue. companies, from multiple companies are being targeted, NOT just Israeli companies. I really hope that people stop using such bad rhetoric in their approach.
    a note to all the people calling this campaign divisive-This campaign is not inherently divisive, it is people like you who are choosing to make it seem, and in turn become, that way.
    Be honest and brave-attend the Town hall meeting and state your ideas WITHOUT trying to attack Fadi as being anti-Israel or anti-semitic. please just stick to the facts.

  • complete ;)

    companies from multiple countries*

  • HumanRights

    Great article. I could not have said it better myself. Do not let the negative comments get to you Fadi. Your campaign will be successful because you have truth and justice on your side. Its just that simple.

  • reader

    Facts are exactly what this discussion could use. Could someone post at least a summary of what CRH proposes? There doesn’t seem to be a website, and if the specific poposals are not made public this discourse will not ascend above childish you’re-a-racist-no-you’re-a-racist back and forth.

    I’m Jewish and generally pro-Israel (in that I think it should continue to exist), and I probably have disagreements with many of you over what constitutes a human rights abuse and what constitutes a legitimate security measure; however, there are some practices that we can all agree are unacceptable, such as the labor abuses that Fadi mentioned. I fully believe that a truly nuanced divestment plan would be in keeping with the university’s values, and that by working together in open dialogue we can craft such a plan. But I obviously cannot support a plan without seeing what is in it. That has to be the first step in any discussion of this issue.

  • To Complete:

    It is anti-Israel. You seem not to know, or pretend not to understand, that divestment is not just from a country’s companies but from companies that do business with that country. It is anti-Israel to target companies who sell them equipment it needs to protect itself from surrounding countries and terrorists groups who openly wish to destroy it.

  • Questions

    This article and group is almost as bad as SCAI (the group that came before that they decided needed a more sugar coated title).
    Who are you divesting from?
    What are your criteria?
    Why are you targeting Israel, whose respect for human rights are magnitudes better than at least a hundred other nations, especially its neighbors in the middle east who want to eliminate it? What about Iran, Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, Venezuala, Russia, ect.?
    Why should the ASSU be discussing foreign policy matters, especially one that is divisive?
    What power does the ASSU have in deciding who Stanford invests in? None

    This things seems like a load of crap with the soul intention of demonizing Israel.

  • Dawn

    I’m happy that you are making this a goal toward upholding HUMAN rights, and I have faith in your group’s ability to bring people together in its message of love.
    Keep going strong in the face of the adversity from the haters. Keep working for justice!

  • Ignacia

    A lot of people are asking for some hard facts about CRH, which is a valid question. I got a flyer under my door the other day, so I’ll sum up what it says:

    1. we should divest from Elbit Systems LTD, Hadiklaim LTD, Tarifi Cement LTD, and Dar Almashr Lilhayaa Masria Iilijaz AlIlmi because each of these companies is actively diminishing the standard of living for people in the area. FYI, the last company listed on there for actually being anti-Semitic, so please educate yourself before you embarrass yourself.

    2.this campaign is not about Israel/Palestine and never has been. It’s about Stanford being invested in companies and that money being used to violate some basic human rights.

    3. this campaign is not about religion. Please see point 1 about anti-Semitism.

    Personally, to all you people complaining about other human rights issues around the world, please calm down. What you’re doing is like yelling at Teach for America because there are uneducated people in Mexico. I highly doubt Stanford is invested in companies that abuse human rights in Venezuela or whatever. And if they are, go talk to your CRH representative and be like, “We need to add this company to the divestment bill” and voila! done. CRH is just trying to do what it can to make one little bit of the world a little bit better. And hopefully if a whole lot of people and groups do a little bit in concert, maybe we can get a whole lot of positive change.


  • Muhammad Shumail

    Great article for a balanced campaign that targets human rights issue without digressing into political debate. There is a high hope that those who have concerns at this point would be able to see the unbiased nature of this cause by the passage of time.

  • Where’s the evidence?

    As a strong supporter of human rights, I was disturbed by the claims made about these companies. However, your listed “sources” are not all credible, nor do they provide sufficient evidence for your claims. One source is a YouTube video. The UN, AIC, and UNICEF sources are credible, but none of them substantiate the more extreme claims you make about human rights abuses in your materials shows

    Please do your research more thoroughly if you want to persuade. Use those PWR and PWR2 skills.

    Also, if your goal is to divest from any company that commits human rights abuses or does not have fair labor conditions…you had better start making a MUCH longer list of companies.

  • Student

    Great article, Fadi. Well-articulated and well-reasoned. Hope this campaign achieves the positive goals it has set out

  • One-Sided

    I wonder if Stanford would also divest from companies that support Palestinian terrorist infrastructure. It seems that this is just another one-sided effort to demonize Israel without taking into account that both sides have been actively fighting a war for decades. I see no reason to divest from Israel simply because it is winning that war. Remember, before there were checkpoints, barriers, and blockades, there were Palestinian suicide bombers and rockets. The Palestinians were fighting Israel even before there was an “occupation.” In light of this, what makes the Stanford community believe that the fighting will stop if Israel gets rid of these things?

  • Salman

    First of all, excellent article, Fadi. I think this issue is an important one for our university. Regardless of what Tom Friedman says, divesting from such companies is consistent with what our university stands for. For all the people who are crying conspiracy and labeling this as a veiled attempt for anti-Israeli sentiment, I don’t see how you can make that conclusion. This effort is targeting companies violating basic human rights. I know this campus cares about this issue because one of the most powerful displays of unity happened on this campus. When the Westboro Baptist Church came to Stanford and stood in front of Hillel, the student body came together and stood up for the ideals of tolerance and denounced everything that Westboro Baptist Church preaches and stands for.

    I highlight this example for a number of reasons. Students clearly care about opposing groups that stand for intolerance and injustice. This divestment plan clearly does this. At the same time, I do agree with a number of the comments above. This plan does not include all the companies that engage in human rights violations. So we need to expand this list to include all the companies in Stanford’s investment portfolio that engage in these acts. However, just because this list doesn’t have every single company engaging in human rights violations, doesn’t mean the purpose or motives are wrong. We just need to amend the list.

    I do have one last point regarding all the comments about how this is really about Muslim students protesting Israel. I honestly believe that every single Muslim student on this campus opposes injustice in every single form, whether that is an innocent Israeli child who is the victim of a suicide bombing or Palestinian family whose home is bulldozed by the state of Israel. At the end of the day, this issue isn’t political, it’s a moral one. Do we honestly want our university to invest in such companies? In history class, we always hear about horrific massacres, genocides, and discriminatory policies. Without fail, we condemn these actions and condemn those who had the power to act but did not do so. We have this opportunity and it is up to our community to step up to the plate.

  • A Human Rights Watcher

    Unless you’re willing to propose a bill that support divestment from companies the following countries that ALSO violate human rights:

    Central African Republic
    Cote d’Ivoire
    Democratic Republic of Congo
    Sierra Leone
    South Africa
    Tanzania and Zanzibar
    Costa Rica
    Dominican Republic
    El Salvador
    China and Tibet
    East Timor
    North Korea
    Papua New Guinea
    South Korea
    Sri Lanka
    Europe/Central Asia
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    United Kingdom
    Middle East/N. Africa
    Saudi Arabia
    United Arab Emirates

    …then I cannot support your bill.

    –A supporter of ALL human rights victims

  • Arafat

    This month in Gaza
    Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: 11-17 Apr 2010
    – 700 truckloads (17,412 tons) of goods were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
    – 4 truckloads of carnations and medical equipment were exported from the Gaza Strip.
    – 1,784,561 liters of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 956 tons of cooking gas were delivered.
    – 488 Gaza residents entered Israel for medical reasons and 115 entered Israel for other humanitarian reasons via the Erez Crossing.

    Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: 4-10 Apr 2010
    (The crossings were closed on 5 April due to the Passover holiday.)
    – 479 truckloads (11,882 tons) of goods were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
    – 3 truckloads of carnations were exported from the Gaza Strip to Europe.
    – 730,000 liters of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 699 tons of cooking gas were delivered.
    – 257 Gaza residents entered Israel for medical reasons and 68 entered Israel for other humanitarian reasons via the Erez Crossing.

    Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: 28 Mar – 3 Apr 2010
    (The crossings were closed on March 29-30 due to the Passover holiday.)
    – 477 truckloads (12,772 tons) of goods were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
    – 2 truckloads of carnations were exported from the Gaza Strip to Europe.
    – 720,823 liters of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 583 tons of cooking gas were delivered.
    – 72 Gaza residents entered Israel for medical reasons and 24 entered Israel for other humanitarian reasons via the Erez Crossing.

    Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: 21-27 Mar 2010
    – 607 truckloads (15,382 tons) of goods were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
    – 4 truckloads of carnations were exported from the Gaza Strip to Europe.
    – 1,459,496 liters of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 986 tons of cooking gas were delivered.
    – 726 Gaza residents entered Israel for medical reasons and 84 entered Israel for other humanitarian reasons via the Erez Crossing.

    Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: 14-20 Mar 2010
    – 519 truckloads (12,422 tons) of goods were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
    – 8 truckloads of carnations were exported from the Gaza Strip to Europe.
    – 1,079,310 liters of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 837 tons of cooking gas were delivered.
    – 483 Gaza residents entered Israel for medical reasons and 67 entered Israel for other humanitarian reasons via the Erez Crossing.
    Essential food products including wheat and flour, meat, chicken, fish and legumes in addition to agricultural produce, animal feed, hygiene products and medicals supplies were among the goods that crossed into Gaza.

  • Arafat


    Next year let’s organize an annual “Arab Apartheid Week,” which would highlight the decrepit state of human and political rights throughout the Arab world.

    There is a solid case to be made that the Arab states remain the last great outpost of despotism and tyranny on earth, and people need to be reminded as much. Indeed, the Arab world today is a living encyclopedia of outmoded forms of government, from sultanates such as Oman and emirates such as Qatar, to thuggish dictatorships such as Syria and dynastic monarchies along the lines of Jordan. It may be a political scientist’s dream, but it is a nightmare for the hundreds of millions of Arabs chafing under oppression and tyranny.

    Basic and fundamental freedoms such as personal autonomy and individual rights are routinely trampled upon, and ethnic and religious minority groups suffer extreme discrimination and
    intolerance. Just ask Coptic Christians in Egypt, Baha’is in Iran or Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia for starters.

    This was borne out most recently by a report issued by Freedom House, the independent Washington-based group that advocates for freedom worldwide. Its annual survey, “Freedom in the World 2010,” would make for eye-opening reading for all those who cry “apartheid” whenever they see a flag with a Star of David.

    Consider the following findings:

    Of the 18 countries in the Middle East that Freedom House surveyed, only one is considered to be “free.”

    And just who might that be? Yep, you guessed it: Israel.

    Not a single Arab country – not one! – did Freedom House consider “free.” Three Arab states – Morocco, Lebanon and Kuwait – were labeled “partly free,” while 13 other Arab states as well as Iran merited the dubious distinction of being branded as “not free.”

    In effect, then, this means that of the approximately 370 million human beings currently residing in the Middle East, only 2 percent enjoy true freedom – namely those who live in the Jewish state.

    So much for “Israeli apartheid.”

    NOT SURPRISINGLY, in a press release announcing the report’s publication, Freedom House concluded that “the Middle East remained the most repressive region in the world.” It is this message that Israel and its supporters need to begin highlighting. By casting a spotlight on the subjugation, oppression and tyranny that typify nearly the entire Arab world, we can open some eyes out there and educate the Western public as to who really shares their democratic values.

    As Prof. Bernard Lewis has written, the Arab states are little more than “a string of shabby tyrannies, ranging from traditional autocracies to new-style dictatorships, modern only in their apparatus of repression and indoctrination.”

    An annual Arab Apartheid Week, held on campuses and at community centers, could be an effective vehicle for driving home this fundamental truth.

    Doing so will reframe the debate. More importantly, it will help Westerners to finally begin recognizing the Arab regimes for what they are: a dangerous mix of despotism and dictatorship.

  • Arafat

    The myth of the starving Gazans:


  • All folks scared about the conditions in Bangkok, let me inform you, avoit Bangkok!

  • Davidbracker

    Israel has lost its soul.