Black Bruins: Pledge No Free Propaganda Trips to Apartheid Israel
We, as Black Bruins who believe in the movement for justice and equality for the Palestinian people, pledge not to take free propaganda trips to apartheid Israel through Hillel’s Fact Finders Journey program, the ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) Campus Leader Mission initiative, nor through any other Israel lobby groups. We also pledge to support the call for the University of California to divestment from companies that aid in, and profit from, apartheid and racialized State violence committed against the Palestinian people at the hands of the racist apartheid state of Israel.

Hillel’s Fact Finders Journey program is sponsored by the Maccabee Task Force, an organization funded by right wing casino tycoon and Trump supporter Sheldon Adelson to combat the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights on college campuses.

Sheldon Adelson and his Maccabee Task Force has significant ties to White Supremacists. In 2016, it was revealed that the Maccabee Task Force funded an initiative of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as an anti-Black, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant hate organization. In 2016, The Freedom Center plastered posters on campus, listing students and faculty by name and accused Students for Justice in Palestine of being a terrorist organization. The posters also targeted prominent African American faculty, including Professors Robin Kelley and Sarah Haley, and painted anti-Black caricatures of former UCLA lecturer Angela Davis. Adelson also has close ties to Steve Bannon, a White supremacist who provided an online outlet for other White supremacists and neo-Nazis, and who pushed stories about “Black Crime” to advocate for mass incarceration.

Despite the Maccabee Task Force’s ties to White Supremacists, Hillel at UCLA willingly took sponsorship money from the Task Force to fund free propaganda trips to Israel in an attempt to coerce politically active students on campus against the Palestinian movement for equal rights.

The Anti-Defamation League also sponsors free propaganda trips to Israel for student leaders through its Campus Leader Mission program. On top of its propaganda trips, the ADL has for years recruited police departments across the country to train in Israel. The tactics learned in Israel are militaristic, rooted in anti-Palestinian racism, and are used against Black communities in the US that already face a violent militaristic and racist police state.

Black Bruins recognize how Black and Palestinian liberation is tied up in US empire. On top of racist policing collaborations, the US sends over $3 billion to Israel annually to fund its Jim Crow-like apparatus; meanwhile, it claims to have no money for Black people in Flint Michigan where the water continues to be contaminated. And just as the US supported the White supremacist government of apartheid South Africa by vetoing every UN Security Council Resolution, the US continues to support Israel in the international arena to push its imperialist policies that disproportionately impact the Black diaspora. That is why the Black Lives Matter Movement and over 1,000 prominent Black academics and artists have condemned Israeli apartheid and support the BDS movement.

Therefore, Black Bruins pledge to refuse all free propaganda trips to Israel and support the call for the UC system to divest its money from apartheid and racial violence. To date, 8 out of 9 undergraduate UC campuses have passed divestment resolutions asking the UC to divest from companies that profit from human rights abuses committed against Palestinians. Moreover, the University of California Student Association (UCSA) and UAW 2865 — representing over 17,000 graduate student workers, also passed divestment resolutions. It is time that the UC heed the call of its students and divest from companies that profit from human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.

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