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You are being asked to weigh in an issue that people have been working on for literally decades -- or longer. Bill Clinton tried to help solve this problem, so has Barack Obama. Neither one has ever said that the problem is simple or that the path to peace lies only with Israel making concessions without similar compromises by Palestinians and other Arabs. Lets not forget that most countries in the Middle East do not recognize Israel as a legitimate country that deserves to exist in peace. Jews did not come in and kick people out of their homes. Jews and Arabs lived in Israel in peace for thousands of years governed by different bodies including the Ottoman Empire then the British, Jordan and Egypt. This is not illegally occupied territory. Up until 1947 the land was governed by foreign Empires, most recently the British. The last indigenous people to govern land before that was the Jews. 1947-48 British leave, and write the British Mandate to create a homeland for the Jews UN suggests part of the land go to re-establish a Jewish state, part to create new Palestinian state. Jews accept. Arabs said no and attacked Israel. Israel unexpectedly wins the war and is established as independent nation. Jordan takes control of the West Bank. Egypt takes Gaza. 1967: Arab countries go to war against Israel again. Israel defends itself, gains West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt. 1973: Arab states go to war against Israel again. Israel defends itself. 1979: Egypt makes peace with Israel. Egypt does not want Gaza back. 1994 Jordan makes peace with Israel. Jordan does not want the West Bank back. 1993-Present: Israel offers to give Palestinians control of the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for recognition for its right to exist as a Jewish state, and security. Palestinian leadership refuses peace offers. 2005: Israel unilaterally withdraws from Gaza. Rockets and Suicide bombers are used by Palestinian terrorists to terrorize Israeli civilians. Israel builds security barrier and conducts occasional military operations to stop suicide bombers and rockets. 2. Many of the issues you were presented with were presented out of context. For example, many issues in Israel have to deal with citizens versus non-citizens. Israelis (which includes Jews, Arabs and Christians) have different license plates than non-citizens, the same way we differentiate license plates from The United States and Europe, but everyone can drive on the same roads. One million Israelis live under constant threat of rocket fire. That’s 45% of the population. It is unfair to fault any nation for purchasing arms when they are solely for national defense and when Israel has repeatedly tried to make peace. The cement they bought to build a security wall has decreased suicide bombers by 98%. Checkpoints are an unfortunate, but necessary part of security, and many have shut down as violence has subsided. 3. This bill is highly divisive and does affect campus climate. This bill is highly divisive and does affect campus climate. I have already been called a kyke, Zionist pig, baby killer and a killer of Christ. I know I'm not the only one. Members of CJP have announced that "any Jew that supports Israel is not a Jew in the eyes of God". I don't feel safe already, and the passage of this bill only makes me more scared for next year. At other universities where this has passed, Jewish students have faced huge upsurges of anti-Semitic behavior. I've had friends that have has eviction notices placed on their doors or swastikas drawn on them, simply because they were Jewish. Many members of my local temple refuse to let their children apply to UCI or Cal because of the problems with BDS, that's the last thing I want for UCSC. My little sister is planning to apply here next year, and I would have strong reservations about her doing so if BDS passed. Many Jewish students already feel marginalized and scared at UCSC because of the proposal of this bill. It is a purely symbolic vote and only hurts and marginalizes a group of students. 5. Israel is not an “Apartheid” state and saying otherwise is both insulting to both people who support Israel and to South Africans. Boycotting, Divesting and Sanctioning from Israel is not the same as Boycotting South African Apartheid from the 1980’s. Twenty percent of Israel’s population is Arab. There is an Arab Bloc in the knesset. The official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. Arab-Israelis serve as justices on the high court, serve in the army and are an integral part of Israel’s society. This is clearly not Apartheid or legal racial segregation.
Other good reasons: 1. This bill is inherently not neutral. You are not being asked to have a balanced debate about the conflict in general. You are not even being asked to debate whether or not Israel has committed human rights violations. You are being pushed to assume that Israel does, without a doubt, commit violations, and only discuss whether or not to punish Israel. That is an inherently biased way to frame a debate. 2. Israel has repeatedly tried to make peace. After 1948, again in 1967, again in 1993, again in 2000, again in 2005 and most recently in 2008. They have either been refused or met with rocket fire and terrorism. 3. This bill is not a local initiative separate from the larger Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement. If it was, Israel wouldn’t have been included in the bill and it wouldn’t have exact passages copied from other UC BDS bills. Founders of the international BDS movement have said, “Israel isn’t the problem, Israel’s existence is”. 4. Palestinian Territories, Gaza and the West Bank are controlled by their own governments and have refused to negotiate with Israel. They refused to accept a Jewish State and thus refuse to make peace with one. 5. The companies that the bill asks you to divest from do lots of good. a. Raytheon -- which according to the Human Rights Campaign has given Raytheon a 100 percent rating on its Corporate Equality Index for eight straight years and has recently named Raytheon one of the “Best Places to Work” for the company’s inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. http://asp.hrc.org/issues/workplace/organization_profile.asp?organization_id=1402&sear ch_id=1&search_type=Quick b. Cement Roadstone Holdings -- which is one of the few large construction materials companies to fully acknowledge the role of human generated CO2 in climate change and has committed to binding targets to reduce its Carbon emissions to 15% below its 1990 levels by 2015.http://www.crh.com/ourgroup/awards-recognition and http://www.crh.com/sustainability/sustainability-in-crh/environmentclimate-change c. Caterpillar -- which in 2012 was honored by CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine as one of the top 50 companies in the United States for hiring people with disabilities and 2011 was named a Top Supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities for the fourth straight year. http://www.eop.com/awards-CD.php d. GE is also one of the largest medical imaging companies in the world and whose equipment saves countless lives of women and children around the world. http://www.vpgcorp.com/webfiles/ImagingPDFFTP/ImagingCompaniesBrochure.pdf
Here is the Arab-Israeli conflict explained in two paragraphs: Jews and Arabs lived in Israel for thousands of years before the modern state of Israel was an independent nation. Jews did not just come in and take the land from indigenous people. As a matter of fact, the last indigenous people to independently govern the land were Jews, some 2000 years ago. Since then it was governed by foreign empires, the last of which were the British. When the British left the UN suggested that part of the land go to the Jewish nation so they could recreate a state in their ancestral and historical homeland, and part of it go to the Arabs so that they can create a new Palestinian state, since there never was a Palestinian nation. The Jews accepted the deal, the Arabs said no. In 1948, the day after Israel became an independent nation, six Arab states attacked Israel. Many local Arabs left due to the war expecting to return when the war was over. However, Israel successfully defended itself and recreated a state in part of their homeland. As for what could have been a Palestinian state, Jordan took the West Bank and Egypt took Gaza. In 1967 (when Israel was not in the West Bank or Gaza) Arab states went to war against Israel again, promising to “drive the Jews into the sea”. Israel defended itself again and in the process took the WB from the Jordanians and Gaza as well as Sinai from the Egyptians. In 1973 the Arab states attacked Israel again. Israel defended itself. In 1979 Egypt made peace with Israel and Israel gave back the Sinai. Egypt did not want Gaza back. In 1994 Jordan made peace with Israel. Jordan did not want the West Bank back. Israel did not want to govern the Palestinians, so it did not annex the WB and Gaza; but it could not give the land to the Palestinians because their leadership refused to make peace with Israel, refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within its own borders, and often called for, and acted towards, the destruction of Israel. Nonetheless Israel kept trying to reach peace. Since 1993, Israel has given the Palestinians limited control over certain areas. The West Bank is split into three sections. Section A is completely controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Section B is shared control and Section C is controlled by the IDF. Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005, including removing all it’s citizens. But this has not paved the road for peace. Palestinian terrorists from the West Bank and Gaza continued to carry out suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians in cafes, malls, buses, hotels etc. and over 10,000 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel. As a result Israel built a security barrier and does occasional military operations to stop the suicide bombers and rockets. Israel and the PA met again for negotiations in 2000 and 2008. The Palestinian leadership has refused the Israeli offers without presenting counter offers and has refused to negotiate since. The land is not illegally occupied.
This original photo caption states: “Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel on Wednesday (10/24/12)”
*http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/25/israel-gaza-fighting-subsides-egypt ” Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images (dated 0ctober 25, 2012) The Gaza Strip is a coastal strip of land currently governed by Hamas, an internationally recognized racist terrorist organization. Article 7 of their Constitutional Charter states: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/880818.htm
http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/11/25/when-rockets-are-just-%E2%80%98bee-stings%E2%80%99-for-thewashington-post/ (dated November 25, 2012) This original photo caption states: “An emergency worker carries an Israeli infant from the site of a rocket strike.” Over one million Israeli civilians are directly exposed and endangered by rocket attacks that are intentionally fired directly at civilian areas that contain commercial and residential areas. Old and young alike all face the same danger everyday from Hamas in the Gaza Strip- which has repeatedly expressed a desire to “run the Jews into the sea” by destroying the national Jewish homeland through violence without any prospect for direct negotiations.
http://cornellsun.com/node/40181 (dated January 10th, 2010) http://www.haaretz.com/news/study-most-sderot-kids-exhibit-post-traumatic-stress-symptoms-1.237438 (January 17, 2008) The original photo caption states (left): “Living in fear: This structure serves as a bomb shelter for children at a playground in Sderot.” The original photo caption states (right): “No time for children to run for a bomb shelter in the city of Sderot.” In the city of Sderot, the entire civilian population has been exposed to continuous rocket attacks from 2006 to present day, prompting a rapid construction of bomb shelters to protect the community from collateral damage. Sderot has the highest amount of bomb shelters per square foot than any other city in the world, with nearly 50% of Sderot’s children exhibiting signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of the persistent reality of danger and unprovoked violence emanating from Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
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