In yet another momentous vote that adds to the growing list of student unions in Canada endorsing the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid, the University of Toronto’s Graduate Student Union (GSU) voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the campaign. Over 150 graduate students were present at the meeting, of which approximately 97% voted in favour of the motion, with only a few students opposed.
The resolution states “Be it resolved that the Graduate Students Union endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions by calling on the University of Toronto to refrain from investing in all companies complicit in violations of international law. This includes any company that: profits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, directly benefits from the construction of the Wall and Israeli settlements, is economically active in settlements, and profits from the collective punishment of Palestinians. This would include the companies BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard”.
The resolution was adopted in support of Palestinian rights and opposition to Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine and its violations of international law under the Geneva Conventions, as affirmed by the International Court of Justice in 2004. By divesting, the University of Toronto will fulfill its legal obligation not to invest in companies or organizations that are complicit in human rights violations, and will help force Israel to comply with international law.
The passage of this resolution is a milestone in divestment activities for the University of Toronto and will hopefully pave the way for a broader divestment campaign launched in 2011 by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA). This campaign addresses the university’s investments in companies that assist in, and profit from Israeli apartheid and the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In passing this BDS resolution, U of T now joins many universities around the world, who have all passed similar resolutions at their student unions. In Canadian universities, the BDS campaign has had several milestones in the last year at Carleton University, University of Regina and most recently, York University.
For more information, please contact SAIA at the University of Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.org.