USF Divest: End involvement in human rights violations in Palestine

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As members of a university that reveres the Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we strive to uphold the same values of justice, equality, and humanity that Dr. King fought for during his lifetime. To honor these values, we should strive to stop profiting from corporations with human rights violations.

Our university was on the wrong side of history when it failed to divest from corporations affiliated with South African apartheid. This time we hope to be on the right side of history. We ask that USF, out of respect for international law, and in consistency with US and local law, stop investing in corporations that are continuously and knowingly complicit in severe human rights violations. Despite our inactivity in past injustices, there is a current opportunity in which we expect our university to act accordingly with an honorable conscious.

For decades, the Palestinian people have been suffering from a system of occupation and oppression that strips them of their basic human rights. The Israeli occupation of Palestine is affecting every aspect of the Palestinian people’s lives: demolishing their homes, depriving them of land and water, and restricting their livelihoods to small areas of land behind a massive and illegal separation wall. These are only a few of the afflictions faced by Palestinians on a day-to-day basis. There are multinational corporations who support and profit from this illegal and brutal occupation.

Our university endowment is invested in the following corporations which are directly complicit in human rights violations against the Palestinian people:

· Caterpillar –Caterpillar supplies the Israeli army with bulldozers for militarization. These bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes, construct the separation wall and create settlements on Palestinian lands, and cause civilian casualties.

· Hewlett-Packard (HP) – HP supplies the Israeli military occupation with systems for military checkpoints that restrict Palestinian civilian movement inside the occupied territory. It further develops the new Israeli biometric ID card system, which is ethnically labeled to divide the population, supporting a system of state segregation and discrimination.

· G4S PLC- G4S operates private prisons around the world and manages immigrant deportations in the US. It provides security systems for Israeli prisons in which Palestinian political prisoners and child prisoners are held. It provides technologies to Israeli military checkpoints and security services in illegal Israeli settlements.

· Boeing Company – Boeing supplies Israel with Apache Helicopters and F-16 fighter jets as well as missile systems used repeatedly in war crimes against Palestinian civilians.

· Lockheed Martin – Lockheed Martin supplies the Israeli military with Hellfire Missiles, Apache parts, and F-16 fighter jets along with training and maintenance. These weapons are used in war crimes against Palestinian civilians.

· Northrop Grumman Corporation – Northrop Grumman supplies Israel with weapons used against Palestinian civilians, including Hellfire missiles, F-16 targeting and surveillance systems, and Longbow missile system. In 2008 and 2012, its technologies were used against Palestinian civilians in the bombing of Gaza.

We ask the Board of Trustees of the USF Foundation:

· To create a committee consisting of representatives from staff, faculty and students that will publish quarterly reports of its investments and investment policy to create transparency with the goal of educating the university community on how its endowment is invested.

· To create a policy that ensures our endowment is invested in a socially just manner, with regard to human rights and environmental welfare.

· To declare divestment from corporations directly complicit in human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

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