We urge you to pass the “Divestment from Israeli Occupation” resolution on October 21, 2015 and take a step towards justice for Palestinians. The three elements of the resolution work together to end Berkeley’s complicity in Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians. The resolution calls on the City Council to do the following: a) divest from any holdings in businesses complicit in such violations in Israel and occupied Palestinian Territories; b) send a letter to CalPERS urging them to divest from such businesses; and c) add Israel’s military occupation of Palestine to the city’s Oppressive States list.
Justice will not come in one day or from one vote. However, the City of Berkeley cannot sit idly by as Israel attacks Gaza killing thousands of civilians including hundreds of children; illegally demolishes Palestinian homes; and maintains a legal system of separation and discrimination that evokes memories of the Jim Crow South and apartheid South Africa.
The resolution falls within the scope of the HWCAC Commission because it deals with human welfare and many Palestinians living in Berkeley are prohibited from returning to their homes, have traumatic memories of the Israeli occupation, and have family members living through these injustices today. In Palestine, Israel’s illegal and cruel occupation seriously affects Palestinian welfare. For example, thousands of children are arrested and imprisoned; families experience homelessness due to home demolitions; and whole communities live in poverty as a result of Israel’s destruction of the Palestinian economy. Similar issues often affect the lives of people in Berkeley in related and intersecting ways—imagine the affordable housing we could build with even a fraction of the more than $3 billion Israel receives each year in U.S. military aid.
Divestment from the Israeli occupation is already happening locally, nationally, and internationally. Our city is known as a leader in peace and justice and Berkeley should be leading the way on divestment. We urge the commission to vote for the resolution on October 21 and reinstate former commissioner Cheryl Davila, who was unconscionably removed from the HWCAC because she would not withdraw the resolution. Please vote YES on the “Divestment from the Israeli Occupation” resolution and work hard to move this forward to the City Council.
The resolution has been endorsed by local organizations including Jewish Voice for Peace, Friends of Sabeel North America, American Friends Service Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Middle East Children's Alliance, American Muslims for Palestine, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, IJAN, and UAW 2865.