National Student Organization Calls for Divestment from Israel
On Sunday, August 4, 2002, the United States Student Association (USSA), a national organization representing students across the United States, unexpectedly passed a number of strong resolutions on Palestine and the Middle East. Although most of the students hadnt been expecting to act on the Palestinian issue and the initial policy platform did not contain anything on the conflict, by the end of the conference four very strong resolutions were created calling for divestment from Israel and announcing solidarity with the Palestinian people. Despite some Zionist opposition, all passed overwhelmingly and in some cases unanimously.
Among those who achieved this result were determined groups of students from UCLA, the University of Wisconsin, a small but extremely active local Boulder, Colorado group all of whom wrote and actively pushed for the resolutions; and If Americans Knew, whose founder, Alison Weir, brought a large amount of written material on the Palestinian issue and, working with Boulder activist Abbas, gave a two-hour workshop on the Palestinian issue.
USSA Policy Platform Resolutions
1. USSA condemns and is appalled by the Israeli governments policies toward, and treatment of the Palestinian people. USSA calls for divestment from the state of Israel until full withdrawal from Palestinian territories.
USSA Expressly abhors the denial of education due to the occupation of Palestinians.
USSA supports nonviolent resistance movements that promote coalition building between Palestinians and Israelis who are actively working towards an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories.
USSA supports a fully sovereign Palestinian State and the Palestinian right to self-determination.
USSA supports human rights for Palestinian people according to international law and USSA calls for peace, security, and prosperity of all people in the region.
Motion passes Vote: 55-7-4 abstain
2. USSA strongly opposes the stereotypical and derogatory portrayal of people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent that continue to perpetuate and reinforce negative images (i.e. terrorism), and terminology (i.e. Islamists, barbarians, Axis of Evil, Camel Jockey, Monsters) of people of Middle Eastern and South Asian Descent, subjecting them to discrimination, vilification, and alienation.
3. USSA strongly opposes a pre-emptive attack and/or military operation in Iraq. Attacking Iraq will cause substantial loss of innocent civilian lives as resulted from the Gulf War.
Whereas: USSA is in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle to attain freedom and self-determination.
Whereas: USSA strives to educate students about issues that are directly related to higher education.
Whereas: USSA urges the socially responsible use of public funding in all higher education institutions.
Be it resolved: That the Board of Directors and USSA staff work in coalition with the organizations that advocate and strive towards the struggle of the Palestinian people for sovereignty and liberation.
Be it further resolved: That the board of Directors and the USSA staff create a fact sheet on the growing national student movement on divestment from the state of Israel.