Declaration of Faculty and Librarians in Support of the GSU Campaign for Divestment from the Israeli Occupation

We, the undersigned faculty and librarians at the University of Toronto, declare our support for the Graduate Student Union’s petition for the University of Toronto to divest its holdings in companies directly profiting from the ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territories (http://www.uoftdivest.com/sign-the-petition.html). We are compelled to take this position out of dismay at the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Given the long-term failure of diplomacy alone to address the rapidly deteriorating situation of Palestinians, it is imperative to take further action. We must identify the injustices, speak out against them, and support the Palestinian appeal for solidarity.

As the atrocities escalate, there has been a groundswell of international support in recent years for divestment from companies directly implicated in the Israeli occupation. A broad array of civil society organizations, both in Canada and internationally, have already taken divestment actions, including churches, trade unions, student associations, financial institutions, and others.[1] As the South African case proved, international pressure is crucial and has tangible impact. Our support for divestment conveys our conviction that Israel must be pressured to respect human rights and to conform to international law.

In light of the above, and in line with our university’s own Policy on Social and Political Issues with Respect to University Divestment,[2] we join the students, administrative staff, and alumni who are petitioning the university to divest its shares in three companies: Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard, and Lockheed Martin.[3] These three companies have been singled out because they manufacture and sell weaponry and other technologies that are being used to destroy Palestinian lives and welfare on a daily basis. As has been amply demonstrated,[4] these companies continue to be actively involved in the escalating violations of international law and in the intensifying abuse of human rights in the territories occupied by Israel. By investing in these companies, the University of Toronto not only betrays its own stated ethical principles, but becomes complicit in these violations. We too are complicit if we remain silent.

We therefore join the GSU’s demand that the University of Toronto:

1) immediately divest its stock in Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin;
2) form a committee of Governing Council to review all companies involved in violations of international law around the world; and
3) refrain from investing in all companies involved in such violations of international law.

Signed:

1. Yasaman Aghazadeh, Experimental Therapeutics, University Health Network
2. Rand Askalan, Pediatrics
3. Abigail Bakan, Social Justice Education, OISE
4. Bernd Baldus, Sociology
5. Roger Beck, Historical Studies, Classics (emeritus)
6. Daniel Bender, History
7. Joseph Berkovitz, Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology
8. Katherine Blouin, Classics
9. Dina Brooks, Physical Therapy
10. Elspeth Brown, History
11. James Robert Brown, Philosophy
12. Meyer Brownstone, Political Science (emeritus)
13. Michelle Buckley, Geography & Planning
14. Joseph H. Carens, Political Science
15. James Carscallen, English (emeritus)
16. Eric Cazdyn, East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature
17. Aziza Chaouni, Architecture
18. Jennifer Jihye Chun, Sociology
19. Andrew Clements, Faculty of Information (emeritus)
20. Kevin Coleman, History
21. Rebecca Comay, Philosophy and Comparative Literature
22. Deborah Cowen, Geography & Planning
23. Phyllis Creighton, Theology
24. Frank Cunningham, Philosophy and Political Science
25. Lucia Dacome, Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology
26. Bianca Dahl, Anthropology
27. Girish Daswani, Anthropology
28. Chandler Davis, Mathematics
29. Natalie Zemon Davis, History
30. Kari Dehli, Social Justice Education, OISE
31. James Deutsch, Faculty of Medicine
32. Margrit Eichler, FRSC, Social Justice Education, OISE
33. Michael Ekers, Geography & Planning
34. Uzoma Esonwanne, English
35. Mohammad Fadel, Law
36. Matthew Farish, Geography
37. Peter Fitting, French and Cinema Studies
38. Ursula M. Franklin, FRSC, University Professor Emerita, Materials Science & Engineering
39. Donna Gabaccia, History
40. David Galbraith, English
41. Frances Garrett, Study of Religion
42. Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Curriculum Teaching and Learning, OISE
43. Kanishka Goonewardena, Geography & Planning
44. Anup Grewal, History
45. Atiqa Hachimi, Historical and Cultural Studies & Linguistics
46. Paul Hamel, Lab. Medicine & Pathobiology
47. Ju Hui Judy Han, Geography & Planning
48. Jens Hanssen, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations and History
49. Amir Hassanpour, NMC
50. Barbara Havercroft, French and Comparative Literature
51. Grégoire Holtz, French
52. Karolina Hübner, Philosophy
53. Mark Hunter, Human Geography
54. Franca Iacovetta, History
55. Ryan Isakson, International Development Studies
56. Eva-Lynn Jagoe, Comparative Literature
57. Smaro Kamboureli, English
58. Malavika Kasturi, History
59. Ken Kawashima, East Asian Studies
60. Whitney Kemble, Library
61. Katie Kilroy-Marac, Anthropology
62. Paul Kingston, Political Science
63. Martin Klein, History (emeritus)
64. Christopher Krupa, Anthropology
65. Blair Kuntz, Robarts Library
66. Nicole Laliberte, Geography
67. Tong Lam, History
68. Michael Lambek, Anthropology
69. Patricia Landolt, Sociology
70. Katie Larson, English
71. Richard Borshay Lee, Anthropology
72. Victor Li, English and Comparative Literature
73. Agi Lukacs, Transitional Year Programme
74. Jamie Magnusson, Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education, OISE
75. Ruth Marshall, Political Science and Study of Religion
76. D'Arcy Martin, OISE
77. Krista Maxwell, Anthropology
78. Julie MacArthur, History
79. Bonnie McElhinny, Anthropology/WGSI
80. Jeannie Miller, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
81. Dieter Misgeld, Social Justice Education, OISE
82. Amira Mittermaier, Religion and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
83. Shahrzad Mojab, OISE
84. Brenda Mori, Physical Therapy
85. Andreas Motsch, French
86. Andrea Muehlebach, Anthropology
87. Kanta Murali, Political Science
88. Michelle Murphy, History
89. Nakanyike Musisi, History
90. Melanie Newton, History
91. Jan Noel, History
92. Linda Northrup, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
93. John Noyes, German
94. Mary Nyquist, English and Comparative Literature
95. Julian Patrick, English
96. Alejandro Paz, Anthropology
97. Chris Petrakos, Historical Studies
98. Jeffrey Pilcher, History
99. Régis Pomès, Biochemistry
100. Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
101. Scott Prudham, Geography & Planning
102. Ian Radforth, History
103. Bhavani Raman, History
104. Srilata Raman, Religion
105. Sherene Razack, Social Justice Education, OISE
106. Ajay Rao, Religion
107. Stephen Rockel, History
108. Richard Roman, Sociology
109. Peter Rosenthal, Mathematics
110. Natalie Rothman, History
111. Karen Ruffle, Religion
112. Najib Safieddine, Thoracic Surgery
113. Atsuko Sakaki, East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature
114. Rania Salem, Sociology
115. Sara Salih, English
116. Sara Saljoughi, English and Cinema Studies
117. Nicholas Sammond, Cinema Studies Institute
118. Rosa Sarabia, Spanish and Portuguese
119. Dana Seitler, English
120. Jayeeta Sharma, History
121. Susan Sim, Faculty of Information
122. Neera Singh, Geography & Planning
123. Gavin Smith, Anthropology
124. Jesook Song, Anthropology
125. Kirsta Stapelfeldt, UTSC Library
126. Heater Sykes, Curriculum, Teaching & Learning
127. Vannina Sztainbok, Social Justice Education, OISE
128. Judith Taylor, Sociology & WGSI
129. Neil ten Kortenaar, English and Comparative Literature
130. Laura Thrasher, Equity Studies
131. Miguel Torrens, Library
132. Nhung Tuyet Tran, History
133. D. Alissa Trotz, WGS
134. Mariana Valverde, Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
135. Karina Vernon, English
136. Rinaldo Walcott, OISE/WGSI
137. Mel Watkins, Economics (emeritus)
138. Jacqueline Whyte Appleby, Library
139. Jessica Wilson, Philosophy
140. Rebecca Wittmann, History
141. Donna Young, Anthropology
142. John Zilcosky, German and Comparative Literature
143. Yurou Zhong, East Asian Studies

Notes:
[1] Churches include the United Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church (USA), the Church of England, the World Council of Churches, and the United Methodist Church. Trade unions include CUPE (Ontario), the Fédération des femmes du Québec, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and IMPACT (the Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Trade Union). Student senates at dozens of North American universities (including at least thirteen in Canada) have already passed resolutions to divest. Several financial institutions have divested from companies or Israeli banks that are supporting the occupation, including PGGM (Dutch), KPA Pension (Swedish), Danske Bank (Danish). For a comprehensive list of Canadian organizations applying economic pressures on Israel, see: http://cjpme.nationbuilder.com/tags/bds_boycott_divestment_sanctions
[2] http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/Assets/Governing+Council+Digital+Assets/Policies/Policy/ppmar042008.pdf
[3] These shares are currently held in the Pension Master Trust and the Long Term Capital Appreciation Pool.
[4] For the full divestment brief, see here: http://www.uoftdivest.com/uploads/3/7/8/8/37885963/divestment_brief_sept._2.pdf.

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PLEASE NOTE: By signing this declaration, your name will also be added to the GSU Divestment Petition found here: http://www.uoftdivest.com/sign-the-petition.html. This signature includes the following clause: "We affirm that we have read in entirety, and agree with, the attached brief titled, “The Case for Divestment from Companies Benefitting from Violations of International Law and Human Rights Abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” For the full divestment brief, see here: http://www.uoftdivest.com/uploads/3/7/8/8/37885963/divestment_brief_sept._2.pdf

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