SJP Statement on SGO Vote
Dear Swarthmore campus and community,
March 3, 2019 marked an important landmark in our journey to end Israeli apartheid and work towards collective liberation of Palestinians and all oppressed peoples. That Sunday, the Student Government Organization (SGO) voted in favor of a resolution supporting Swarthmore Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and its divestment campaign. SJP’s proposed resolution is responding to the call from Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctioning of the state of Israel to end our own institution’s complicity in the violation of Palestinian human rights. By choosing to divest from companies like Bank Hapoalim, Boeing, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hyundai Heavy Industries, and Lockheed Martin, we add our voices to the broader international movement affirming Palestinian human rights. We also pressure such companies to end their activities that perpetuate Israeli human rights abuses and a brutal military occupation that is in blatant violation of international law.
With this victory, Swarthmore’s student government joins a prominent history of BDS movements in the United States and around the globe. Thirty-nine student governments in the U.S. and Canada - and more student unions in South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Qatar, Ireland and the UK - have passed resolutions in support of divestment from Israeli Apartheid.
The broader Swarthmore community has been invaluable to these developments, providing both critical support and solidarity with SJP. Last semester, over half of the student body signed a petition in support of BDS, demonstrating the widespread desire for divestment. In addition, 16 student and alumni groups wrote letters of solidarity with SJP, further emphasizing the commonalities between the Palestinian freedom struggle and their own anti-oppressive struggles and identities. Without this level of student involvement, the BDS campaign would not be possible. We thank you for lending your voices and energy to our campaign, for it is in concert that we move towards liberation for all marginalized peoples.
The Student Government Organization’s decision to support our resolution marks another important step towards institutional change. SGO has been an important partner in our work. We thank SGO for their leadership and willingness to use their platform to affirm Palestinian human rights, and we hope to collaborate further on future measures of institutional accountability.
There is still much to be done and, just as before, your support is critical to sustaining the BDS movement. In the coming weeks, we will be finalizing the resolution and releasing it to the campus community. In the meantime, ensuring the safety of students who support Palestinian human rights on campus and continuing to advocate against Israeli apartheid are SJP’s primary objectives. During Israeli Apartheid Week, between March 18 and April 8, we will be hosting several activities and events to uplift oppressed voices and celebrate Palestinian culture, turning away from the dominant narrative of conflict. We hope you can join us for these events and look forward to the future of the BDS campaign at Swarthmore.