March 4, 2013 To the Board of Trustees – Stanford University My name is Alan Wieder and I am a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the

University of South Carolina. I have also served on the faculties of the University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University in South Africa. The South African positions, as well as my continuing research on people that led and fought in the war against apartheid, is relevant because I am writing to support the call for divestment by the Students for Palestinian Equal Rights and their allies at Stanford University. While many Americans and Israelis who seek to silence those who are critical of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and oppression of Palestinian people hate the comparison with South African apartheid, the parallels are relevant – especially when the discussion is about divestment. There were various reasons that apartheid ended in South Africa – divestment was one of the elements. One of most outspoken proponents of divestment in the case of Israel is South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu: I have been to Palestine where I’ve witnessed the racially segregated housing and the humiliation of Palestinians at military roadblocks. I can’t help but remember the conditions we experienced in South Africa under apartheid. We could not have achieved our freedom without the help of people around the world using the nonviolent means of boycotts and divestment to compel governments and institutions to withdraw their support for the apartheid regime. One of the reasons that Bishop Tutu emphasized divestment is his clarity on the importance of non-violence. While the Palestinian struggle has often been portrayed as violent, non-violence is more the spirit of BDS. Judith Butler spoke to the issue in a speech at Brooklyn College. The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is, in fact, a non-violent movement; it seeks to use established legal means to achieve its goals; and it is, interestingly enough, the largest Palestinian civic movement at this time. That means that the largest Palestinian civic movement is a non-violent one that justifies its actions through recourse to international law. Further, I want to underscore that this is also a movement whose stated core principles include the opposition to every form of racism, including both statesponsored racism and anti-Semitism. In the 1980s nations throughout the World opted for divestment in the case of South Africa. For those South Africans who opposed and struggled against the apartheid regime the support was not only welcome but also essential. The same is true today for Israelis who abhor both the governmental and societal oppression of Palestine. I

conclude citing the words of two Israeli historians – they make the case of why Stanford University should take divestment seriously and act. First, Ilan Pappe: Today, Israel is a formidable settler-colonialist state, unwilling to transform or compromise, and eager to crush by whatever means necessary any resistance to its control and rule in historical Palestine. Beginning with the ethnic cleansing of 80 percent of Palestine in 1948, and Israel’s occupation of the remaining 20 percent of the land in 1967, Palestinians in Israel are now enclaved in mega-prisons, bantustans, and besieged cantons, and singled out through discriminatory policies… The Israeli settler state continues to further colonize and uproot the indigenous people of Palestine. Finally, Neve Gordon: The only way to counter the apartheid trend in Israel is through massive international pressure. The words and condemnations from the Obama administration and the European Union have yielded few results… I have decided to support the BDS movement… The objective is to ensure that Israel respects its obligations under international law, and that Palestinians are granted the right to self-determination… Nothing else has worked. Putting massive international pressure on Israel is the only way to guarantee that the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians – my two boys included – does not grow up in an apartheid regime. Sincerely,

Alan Wieder

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