must respect human rights, divest
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Palestinian suicide
bombings are acts so egregious, the University of California has
no business associating itself with either side of the conflict
in any way.
Some 165 University of California professors have recognized this,
signing a petition requesting that the UC divest from Israel. The
hope is that the dissent of large Israeli corporations from their
government's military actions, as a result of divestment, can bring
the region's humans rights violations to a close where other measures
have failed. Governments may be bull-headed in foreign relations,
but they are rarely so stubborn when dealing with their wealthy
citizens, who can threaten to move their corporate operations to
other countries to avoid losing money to protesting stock-holders.
When the university invests in Israeli corporations, the profits,
in turn, are taxed by the Israeli government and help support the
occupation of the West Bank, as well as other militaristic ventures.
Private institutions can do as they please with their money, but
the UC is funded in part by taxpayers, not all of which support
helping Israel fight Palestinians, or vice versa, however indirect
the assistance may be. While divestment from Israeli corporations
is justified, it doesn't imply Israelis are the sole bearers of
blame for the human rights violations. If the Palestinians had their
own state, the UC would have an obligation to withdraw its investments
from there as well.
The UC's investment portfolio is not independent of its social
responsibilities. In 1984, the UC divested from South Africa because
it, too, was clearly violating human rights during apartheid. But
the UC has still not divested from Burma, even though its investments
there help fund the economic infrastructure which supports a totalitarian
government. In this case, and in the case of Israel, there should
be no ambiguity about the UC's responsibility; it needs to divest
Following the editorial, the zionists attacked
the newspaper and the University. A special letter by the editor
Letter from the Editor
An influx of responses to the July 8 editorial "UC must respect
human rights, divest," indicates a significant number of readers
have confused the difference between news coverage and editorials.
There is also misunderstanding as to the nature of the Daily Bruin's
relation to the university.
An editorial represents the position a newspaper takes on an issue
and is meant as just one perspective the public can use in developing
its own viewpoint on current events. The opinion of the editorial
board does not carry over to our news coverage; we report our news
as fairly as possible, independent of editorial positions.
The Bruin is not a mouthpiece for the university or any entity
therein. A number of readers have threatened to withdraw donations
to the university, not permit their children to attend UCLA, and
to return their degrees to Murphy Hall in protest because of opinions
recently expressed by the editorial board. Readers should realize
the university and the Bruin are independent the views expressed
in editorials belong to the editorial board, not the university.
As such, the editorial board's views will not change because readers
threaten to pit the university against it.
Last week's editorial which called for the University of
California's divestment from businesses in Israel should
not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of violence against Israel.
The editorial stated the board did not support violence by either
side in the conflict. It said the board would support divestment
if a Palestinian state serving as a host to both UC investments
and human rights violations existed.
A letter of support sent to the newspaper:
true to beliefs through opposition
I found the necessity for your Special Letter to be a very depressing
reflection on the pressures placed on you if you fail to conform
to many of your readers' "opinions." Similar pressures
have been put on major media companies, CNN, the New York Times,
the Washington Post, etc. There seems to be a frightening impression
that U.S. media will be prepared to distort reality if enough pressure
is placed on it.
It is a result of this pressure, in my opinion, that Americans
are about as ignorant as it is possible to be, from Bush and Powell
downward, on the facts relating to Palestine. The problem has nothing
to do with suicide bombings, violence or Arafat. The problem is
entirely due to Israel's continuing failure to comply with International
Law on Occupation, Settlements and Refugees.
The media in Europe is not subjected to such abuse, or, if it is,
it does not succumb.