UC Leadership Urged to Honor Rights of Students Supporting Divestment

Credit: Alexis chis

Credit: Alexis chis

PSLS Calls on UC Administrators to Honor First Amendment in Anticipation of UCSA Divestment Vote

Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLS) submitted a letter to University of California (UC) administrators in anticipation of the UC Student Association (UCSA) vote this Sunday on a proposal to the UC Regents to divest from corporations that profit from Palestinian human rights violations.  The letter calls on UC leadership to honor the First Amendment rights of its students who support of the divestment initiative and refrain from condemning their actions as uncivil or anti-Semitic.  The letter emphasizes that,

Such characterizations [that divestment stirs up anti-Semitism] are factually incorrect as the students on UC campuses who campaign for divestment are principled human rights activists seeking justice, equality, and compliance with international law. Such characterizations also undermine First Amendment values by ostracizing and discouraging advocates on one side of a political debate.  Falsely branding divestment activists as uncivil or anti-Semitic encourages efforts to link the recent incident of deplorable swastika vandalism at UC Davis and isolated instances of real anti-Semitism with divestment campaigns and other Palestine advocacy. There is no evidence of such connections, and Palestine advocates have repeatedly condemned anti-Semitic acts.

With this communication, PSLS enclosed a letter they and other civil rights organizations sent to administrators at over 200 universities last fall, including those within the UC system, cautioning them against calls to censor or condemn speech that is critical of Israeli government policies.

To read the full letter regarding Sunday's UCSA vote, click here.