We do not want the endowment of this great university to be tainted with the blood of Palestinian suffering. A vote for divestment is a vote for nonviolent resistance to oppression and suffering, to liberate not only the Palestinians, but also our Israeli brothers and sisters from the scourge of injustice.
I’m a big peace supporter and want Palestinian independence with all my heart. I will never agree, however, to political tactics such as divestment, which seeks not to engender cooperation, but instead to perpetrate a false image about my country and delegitimize it.
This is not a column about divestment. It is not a column about Israel, or about Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine. This is, instead, a column about words. Choose your words carefully, Stanford. They determine what you say and, more importantly, who will listen. Words Matter.
The importance of resisting Israel’s discriminatory and oppressive policies against its Palestinian citizens should not be understated. However, when discussing plans to address this problem at Stanford, we should carefully consider an approach that would be the most feasible in creating change.
Twenty-five years of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations mediated by the United States have only further entrenched the occupation. Professor Zipperstein and I agree that armed violence will not end the occupation. Divestment is a nonviolent strategy to end the occupation. Those who oppose the occupation and oppose divestment have an obligation to propose what they believe would be a more efficacious strategy.
Last week, anti-divestment and pro-divestment supporters took to White Plaza with both groups concentrated in separate corners of the ring. This was a missed opportunity for debate. Imagine how much more substantive and fruitful campus activism could be if we turned around and faced each other.
But the divestment campaign provides little more than a distraction. Instead of facing the real-life dilemmas of a conflict in which two peoples demand, legitimately, the right to live decent lives in the same slice of land, it seeks to seduce supporters by collapsing suspicions of dubious multi-national corporate activities into the Palestine-Israel mix.
While Netanyahu’s tenuous political standing and upcoming elections are likely the catalysts for his divisive address to Congress in defiance of Obama, blaming the pain away will not resolve our allies’ qualms. In fact, it is not unlikely that Netanyahu will win the Israeli elections and retain his leadership position in the Israeli government.