Resolution

RESOLUTION TO DIVEST UNIVERSITY FUNDS FROM APARTHEID

WHEREAS, following the University of Chicago motto, “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched,” we commit ourselves to using our awareness of injustice toward action to confront it; and,

WHEREAS, The University of Chicago’s Office of Investment and the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees are responsible for managing the University’s investment assets, which totaled $8.7 billion as of June 30, 2014 [1]; and,

WHEREAS, the University of Chicago, as a private institution, is not required to disclose how much of these assets are obtained from student tuition and fees, nor is it required to disclose any further information on its investment assets, thus could very well invest these assets in corporations that engage in human rights abuses and violations; and,

WHEREAS, the University of Chicago has historically lagged behind other institutions on socially responsible investment, failing to divest from South African Apartheid, Darfur, HEI Hotels and Resorts, and Fossil Fuels, despite widespread student support; and,

WHEREAS, the University has also failed to form a socially responsible investment committee, even when the student body passed a referendum calling for such a committee by 80% of the vote  [2] [2.1] [2.2] [2.3]; and,

WHEREAS, such ethical failures and failures to take student input seriously represent a shameful part of the University’s history, which it should strive not to repeat in order to ensure its investment of assets “be tailored to the University’s mission and future” [3]; and,

WHEREAS, on November 11, 1967 the Kalven Committee, under the chairmanship of Harry Kalven Jr., published the Report on the University’s Role in Social and Political Action, in which one clause states the possibility of an existing context wherein the “corporate activities of the university may appear so incompatible with paramount social values as to require careful assessment of the consequences” [4]; and,

WHEREAS, the Kalven Report thus allows for divestment under circumstances when investing in corporations that engage in the human rights abuses and violations is “incompatible with paramount social values”; and,

WHEREAS, the occupation and apartheid conditions inflicted upon the Palestinian territories in violation of international law constitute such human rights abuses incompatible with paramount social values; and,

WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territories are controlled militarily by the Israeli government [5]; and,

WHEREAS, systematic violations of human rights and international law in the occupied Palestinian territories by the Israeli government have been recognized by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in numerous resolutions dating back to 1967 (i.e., 237, 259, 267, 298, 316, 446, 452, 468, 469, 471, 476, 592, 605, 607, 608, 636, 641, 672, 673, 681, 694, 726, 799, 904, 1073, 1322, etc.) [6]; and,

WHEREAS, according to “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” a 2004 declaration by the International Court of Justice regarding the Israeli Apartheid Wall, “The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, are contrary to international law” [7]; and,

WHEREAS, United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, referring to the Palestinian territories, emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” [8]; and,

WHEREAS, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2625 affirms the right of all peoples to “freely … determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development”; and, declares it the obligation of the state to, “respect this right” [9]; and,

WHEREAS, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3376, which created the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, asserted the rights of “the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination without external interference, national independence and sovereignty” [10]; and,

WHEREAS, the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories constitutes the restriction of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, in violation of international law; and,

WHEREAS, Article 49, paragraph 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” and therefore, according to the United Nations General Assembly’s application of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “[…] in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially settlement activities […] remain contrary to international law and cannot be recognized, irrespective of the passage of time” [11]; and,

WHEREAS, Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited” [12]; and,

WHEREAS during the Israeli military assaults on the Gaza Strip in 2008-09 (Operation Cast Lead), 2012 (Operation Pillar of Defense), and 2014 (Operation Protective Edge), according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, over 2,300 Palestinian civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands of homes and key parts of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure were destroyed, a human rights crisis that constitutes collective punishment, in violation of international law [13] [13.1] [13.2]; and,

WHEREAS the Apartheid Wall constitutes collective punishment, in violation of international law; and,

WHEREAS, by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, “the crime of apartheid means inhumane acts […] committed in the institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime” [14]; and,

WHEREAS the Apartheid Wall, by separating Palestinian civilians from their means of livelihood and isolating Palestinian communities, constitutes apartheid; and,

WHEREAS, apartheid was recognized as a crime against humanity by the United Nations General Assembly in 1973, with the passage of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid [15]; and,

WHEREAS, the violations of human rights and international law perpetrated by the Israeli government in the occupied Palestinian territories has been documented by non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Defense for Children International, B’tselem, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Council of Churches, and the International Federation for Human Rights; and,

WHEREAS, in 2005, Palestinian civil society called for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), requesting the international community to divest from corporations participating in and profiting from their oppression by way of illegal military occupation [16]; and,

WHEREAS, in recent years, increasing numbers of American academic associations for undergraduate, graduate and professional academics have voted to endorse, or have endorsed, BDS including: American Anthropological Association (2015), National Women’s Studies Association (2015), the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (2013), the Association for Asian American Studies (2013), and the American Studies Association (2013) [17] [17.1] [17.2] [17.3] [17.4]; and,

WHEREAS, this resolution is a response to the call for Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS); and,

WHEREAS, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects our right to advocate for BDS, and no federal, state, or local law, including Illinois Public Act 99-128, infringes on our constitutional right to advocate for divestment from corporations complicit in Israeli human rights abuses; nor does any federal, state, or local law prohibit the University of Chicago from actually divesting from corporations complicit in Israeli human rights abuses; and,

WHEREAS, passage of this resolution constitutes a response to the divestment component of the call; and,

WHEREAS, passage of this resolution constitutes a responsibility of the University of Chicago community in adherence to University policy and the Kalven Report; and,

WHEREAS, Boeing is the second largest arms supplier worldwide and supplies aircraft, missiles, and weapons used to attack Palestinians in the occupied territories and resulting in the death of many civilians, including the 2014 summer assault on Gaza which, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, damaged or destroyed over 144 kindergartens, killed 2,205 Palestinians, displaced over 500,000, and left 108,000 homeless [18] [18.1]; and,

WHEREAS, Caterpillar Corporation provides bulldozers and earth-moving equipment used to demolish homes, raze orchards, and destroy olive groves in the occupied territories to make way for illegal settlements, segregated roads, and the Apartheid Wall [19]; and,

WHEREAS, Cemex operates four factories on occupied land and produces concrete elements used in the construction of illegal settlements, the Apartheid Wall, and checkpoints [20]; and,

WHEREAS, Elbit Systems Ltd. provides the electronic detection fence and surveillance cameras for the Apartheid Wall and supplies unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used to kill and maim Palestinians in the occupied territories, including 164 children killed by UAV strikes during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge assault on the Gaza strip [21]; and,

WHEREAS, General Electric Corporation supplies the propulsion system for Apache helicopters used to attack Palestinian towns and refugee camps and possesses contracts to sell engines for military aircraft and contracts for engineering support and testing [22]; and,

WHEREAS, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (not to be confused with HP Inc.)  provides biometric monitoring of checkpoints in the West Bank in violation of international law, is fully responsible for the operation of naval IT infrastructure which is conducted in illegal settlements and has been used to attack Gaza’s fishermen in their own territorial waters, shell civilian area in the Gaza Strip, and attack ships carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza [23]; and,

WHEREAS, Lockheed Martin is the single biggest U.S. supplier for the Israeli armaments industry, receives billions of dollars for providing arms, possesses many contracts including for the manufacture of fighter bombers, battle tanks, attack helicopters, and missiles, including the Hellfire Missile for Apache helicopters, all of which are used to collectively punish Palestinians most recently in the summer 2014 assault on Gaza, in which, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2,205 Palestinians and 13 Israelis (of which 10 were soldiers) were killed [24]; and,

WHEREAS, Motorola Systems has a $90 million contract to provide the Israeli army with an advanced cell phone communications system and to develop encrypted wireless communications for the military featuring vehicle-mounted antenna, while also providing antennae in military installations in the West Bank, and has at least 70 cell phone towers in illegal settlements in the West Bank. Moreover, Motorola Systems subcontracts IT services to settlers in an illegal settlement, developed a perimeter defense system called Stronghold as well as a Wide Angle Surveillance System used in the West Bank [25]; and,

WHEREAS, Northrop Grumman collaborates with Lockheed Martin in producing aircraft by providing the multimode radar that provides for high-resolution ground mapping, with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman also produces the Longbow System which, when installed in an Apache helicopter, greatly enhances the Apache’s lethality, and which includes fire control radar and the Hellfire Missile, and in 2000 and 2001, Congress was notified of more than $500 million and $509 million respectively in pending Apache Longbow attack helicopter sales, which were used in the most recent assault on Gaza [26]; and,

WHEREAS, Raytheon is a major arms contractor to the military including The Maverick, a precision air-to-ground missile used against small, mobile targets such as Palestinians in crowded residential areas and refugee camps and to assassinate Palestinians without trial, evidence, or the opportunity for defense [27]; and,

WHEREAS, the above-mentioned companies’ contractual relationships with the state of Israel’s infrastructure of apartheid in Palestine constitute complicity in Israeli violations of international law; and,

WHEREAS, due to the University of Chicago’s lack of transparency regarding the specific nature of its investments, there is no proof that the University holds investments in the ten targeted corporations or other corporations that are complicit in human rights abuses; and,

WHEREAS, there is nonetheless no specific policy of socially responsible investment that would preclude the University from holding investments in the targeted corporations; and,

WHEREAS, investment in corporations complicit in human rights abuses represents implicit support for the actions of these corporations, which, as demonstrated, include gross violations of human rights and international law; and,

WHEREAS, the actions of the targeted corporations directly affect the University community, which includes students and their families who have been subject to systematic discrimination, human rights violations, violence, and death; and,

WHEREAS, this resolution does not advocate for a specific political solution (one-state, two-state, etc.) to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and,

WHEREAS, this resolution seeks not to condemn a country, a people, or a community, but has the sole intent of ending our University’s support for corporations that engage in and profit from human rights violations in Palestine;

WHEREAS, this resolution condemns, in the strongest possible terms, all manifestations of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia; therefore,

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the College Council of the University of Chicago calls upon the Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees, subject to the Board and the Investment Committee, to withdraw, within the bounds of their fiduciary duty, investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in companies profiting from human rights abuses and violations of international law in Palestine, including, but not limited to Boeing, Caterpillar Corporation, Elbit Systems, General Electric, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lockheed Martin, Motorola Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the University of Chicago maintain this withdrawal of investments, in accordance with trustees’ fiduciary duty, until these companies are no longer engaged in the violation of human rights and international law in Palestine.

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the University of Chicago creates a Socially Responsible Investment Committee, with transparency and student and faculty involvement, in order to oversee the implementation of this resolution and ensure the investment assets of the University are not invested in corporations that profit off of the illegal occupation of Palestine, threaten the wellbeing of its students, contribute to the violation of international humanitarian law, or are incompatible with paramount social values.

 

Endorsements

Al Sharq: Middle East Meets West

Armenian Students Association – ASA

Black Students Association at SSA

Chicago Justice Initiative

The Elephant

Fight for Just Food

Friends of Washington Park

Hyde Park Pagans – HPP

Jewish Voice for Peace – JVP

Latinx Students Association at SSA – LSA

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán – MEChA

Muslim Students Association – MSA

Organization of Black Students – OBS

Phoenix Survivors Alliance – PSA

Queers United in Power – QUIP

Socioeconomic Diversity Alliance – SDA

Southside Solidarity Network – SSN

Students for Health Equity – SHE

Students for Justice in Palestine – SJP

Women’s Rugby Club

University of Chicago College Council

 

Endnotes

[1] https://investments.uchicago.edu/

[2] http://chicagomaroon.com/2006/04/11/bucking-trend-u-of-c-will-not-divest-from-sudan/

[2.1] http://chicagomaroon.com/2011/03/01/inspired-by-brown-activists-push-for-hei-non-investment/

[2.2] http://chicagomaroon.com/2011/04/26/sric-delivery-goes-on-without-zimmer-s-audience/

[2.3] http://chicagomaroon.com/2014/02/18/divestment-is-not-only-necessary-but-feasible/

[3] https://investments.uchicago.edu/page/strategy

[4] https://provost.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/documents/reports/KalvenRprt.pdf

[5] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx

[6] http://www.un.org/en/sections/documents/general-assembly-resolutions/index.html

[7] http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6

[8] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpi/palestine/ch3.pdf

[9] http://www.un-documents.net/a25r2625.htm

[10] http://www.un.org/en/ga/62/plenary/palestine/bkg.shtml

[11] https://www.icrc.org/ihl/WebART/380-600056

[12] https://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/c525816bde96b7fd41256739003e636a/72728b6de56c7a68c12563cd0051bc40

[13] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf

[13.1] http://www.btselem.org/download/201305_pillar_of_defense_operation_eng.pdf

[13.2] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIGazaConflict/Pages/ReportCoIGaza.aspx#report

[14] https://www.icc-cpi.int/nr/rdonlyres/ea9aeff7-5752-4f84-be94-0a655eb30e16/0/rome_statute_english.pdf

[15] http://legal.un.org/avl/ha/cspca/cspca.html

[16] http://www.bdsmovement.net/call

[17] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/11/23/anthropologists-overwhelmingly-vote-boycott-israeli-universities

[17.1] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/12/01/national-womens-studies-association-joins-israel-boycott-movement

[17.2] http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/29/native-american-studies-association-boycott-israel

[17.3] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/04/24/asian-american-studies-association-endorses-boycott-israeli-universities

[17.4] http://www.theasa.net/american_studies_association_resolution_on_academic_boycott_of_israel

[18] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

[18.1] https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/99D281AA4285EE8985257DEF00549B0E

[19] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

[20] http://www.whoprofits.org/content/cemex%E2%80%99s-new-west-bank-policy-drops-mining-activity-continues-production-settlements

[21] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

[22] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

[23] http://whoprofits.org/content/hewlett-packard-splits-two-separate-companies-hewlett-packard-enterprise-and-hp-inc

[24] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

[25] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

[26] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

[27] http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/profiting.pdf

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