I am working with a group called TESC Divest Campaign. We believe that the situation in Israel and Palestine amounts to apartheid. Palestinians are horribly oppressed by the Israeli State. The State of Israel is, more and more, denying Palestinians basic human rights and dignity. The UN has found Israeli actions in violation of international law time and time again.
We are working to pressure the Administration of The Evergreen State College—specifically the Evergreen Foundation, to make its investments transparent, in order to insure the students, faculty, staff, alumni and the overall community that Evergreen is not supporting the horrible oppression and dreadful treatment of Palestinians by Israel.
I believe that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories hurts not only Palestinians, but also Israelis very much as well! So this is a nonviolent way to promote a change in the situation.
One of the arguments, in fact the only argument, that I have heard in favor of the status quo is that the current situation is expedient. The Evergreen Foundation has fiduciary responsibility to provide access to scholarships and grants for Evergreen Students. And it does a good job. There is significant money available. The bulk of the Evergreen Foundation funds are now with the University of Washington Consolidated Endowment Fund. The Evergreen Foundation has no control over day to day investing policies and practices at the CEF.
There is no transparency. There is no way for a member of the public, or a member of the institution (outside of the investment circles,) to know what the CEF monies are being invested in.
There is no discussion of a change to this policy. What we need is an ethical investment policy. What we need are ethical investment practices. It makes no sense to educate students in the ways of stopping the dragon of harmful economic activity, while feeding the dragon in order to fund the students' educations...
It is like giving people the swords to kill the dragon (of harmful economic activity), meanwhile shoveling food into its face to feed the voracious furnaces of its appetite for domination, destruction and violence.
Stop feeding the dragon. Make it weak. Make it possible for the righteous swords of justice, trained in the halls of our higher institutions, to have the best chance of killing the beast. Starve the beast. Starve the evil dragon of destructive economic activities.
Basically what I am saying is that it is time to grow up and stop playing pretend. We are causing harm here! Our investments enable harmful economic activities! The current status quo is feeding the destructive economies of militarism and conquest. It's time to wake up and realize the true roots of injustice. To see the springs of our discontent percolating to the surface in our very own community. It is time to make basic changes to the system, so that we are no long part and party to these horrible realities of economic destructiveness, human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace.
What economic activities are more harmful than tyranny and military occupation and oppression of native peoples?
It's time to change. Yes, we can!
Let's revolutionize our relationships with each other and with the land. Let's learn to live with each other rather than at the sake of each other. Let's care for the Earth, not as though it is a commodity belonging to us - but as though it is a community to which we belong!
Okay. So. Where to start? How about: Who profits from the occupation? That seems like a good place.
I received an email from Jewish Peace News today pointing me to a site that seeks to answer just that question. Here's the link: http://www.whoprofits.org/
p.s. I am using the "sword" as an icon, and a metaphor for the pen, as in the writing instrument (these days its moreso the keyboard), and a metaphor for the power of words—especially the word of truth. The pen is mightier than the sword. The pen has much greater potential for nonviolent change than the sword. ...Use the pen with a mind and an eye for justice. The truth will out. The truth will prevail.