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DePaul Divest speaks out: No more misinformation

Members+of+Depaul+Divests+explaining+the+process+of+divestment+from+companies+that%0Asupposedly+profit+off+of+Israel%27s+occupation+of+Palestine.+Controversy+has+surrounded%0Athe+measure%2C+which+is+set+to+be+voted+on+in+the+SGA+elections%2C+May+19-May+22.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+DePaul+Students+for+Justice+in+Palestine%29
Members of Depaul Divests explaining the process of divestment from companies that
supposedly profit off of Israel's occupation of Palestine. Controversy has surrounded
the measure, which is set to be voted on in the SGA elections, May 19-May 22. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Students for Justice in Palestine)

Members of Depaul Divests explaining the process of divestment from companies that supposedly profit off of Israel's occupation of Palestine. Controversy has surrounded the measure, which is set to be voted on in the SGA elections, May 19-May 22. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Students for Justice in Palestine)

Members of Depaul Divests explaining the process of divestment from companies that supposedly profit off of Israel's occupation of Palestine. Controversy has surrounded the measure, which is set to be voted on in the SGA elections, May 19-May 22. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Students for Justice in Palestine)

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In recent weeks, DePaul Divest organizers have received word that malicious rumors are being spread about the campaign via word of mouth on campus. As student campaign organizers and members of SJP, we are deeply troubled by many of the allegations being made against DePaul Divest. We recognize these allegations as a campaign of misinformation that is meant to delegitimize the DePaul Divest campaign, and as such, we feel that there is a growing need to address them. The following is a list of false statements that have been circulating about the DePaul Divest campaign. It is our hope that this article will clear up any misconceptions regarding the nature of the campaign.

Accusation: DePaul Divest has fabricated the university’s investment in the 12 companies listed, which profit from Israel’s human rights violations.

There is clear evidence that DePaul University is invested in the 12 corporations we have targeted. DePaul University releases quarterly financial reports, which are available to all DePaul students, staff and faculty on the Financial Affairs section of DePaul’s website. The last few pages of the quarterly report, entitled “Endowment,” lists all of the mutual funds that comprise DePaul’s endowment. The holdings of these mutual funds are public information and easy to Google. Perusing a few of these mutual funds, we have identified the 12 multi national corporations that profit from Israel’s human rights violations, which DePaul is invested in, and which we call on them to divest from. These corporations are all listed on our website. Because the mutual funds that DePaul invests in are so enormous, and because there are so many of them comprising the endowment, the 12 corporations we have managed to identify could very well be just the tip of the iceberg.

Accusation: If the DePaul Divest referendum passes, it will cause all Jewish student organizations to lose funding and they will therefore cease to exist on campus.

This is not true by any means. We have absolutely no intention of attempting to cause Jewish student groups to lose their funding, and if a movement to remove or cut funding to these groups were to arise, we would vehemently and actively oppose it. Our campaign calls only for the removal of 12 specific, multi-national corporations that profit directly from human rights abuses from DePaul’s endowment. The outrageous claim that we intend to cut funding to Jewish organizations is a blatant lie, and one that is made without any evidence whatsoever. This tactic of fear mongering has been employed as a last ditch effort to delegitimize an ethical, non-violent and rights-based social justice movement on our campus.

Accusation: The DePaul Divest campaign “is more anti-Semitic than anti- Zionist” (Quoted from a claim made by a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi in a May 13 DePaulia article.)

SJP and DePaul Divest unequivocally reject anti-Semitism, just as we reject anti-Palestinian bigotry, Islamophobia, racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of hate. We do not conflate Judaism with Israel’s human rights abuses, and we reject that idea that criticism of Israeli government policy is anti-Semitic. The claim that it is stems from the false conflation of Judaism with Zionism. Not all Jewish people are Zionists, and not all Zionists are Jewish. Many Israelis and Jews actively oppose Israeli human rights violations, just as American citizens often oppose the actions of the U.S. government. Israeli organizations like Boycott from Within resist the occupation of Palestine, while international organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace advocate for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike — one which recognizes the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people: The right of return for Palestinian refugees as stipulated by UN Resolution 194, full equality for Palestinians within Israel, and the end to occupation and apartheid.

Accusation: The DePaul Divest campaign denies Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. (Pulled from a claim made by a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi in a May 13 DePaulia article.) We do not deny the right of Israel to exist or defend itself.

We do deny that Israel has some sort of right to blatantly defy basic standards of international law, or that it can commit egregious human rights abuses without impunity. Acts perpetuated by the Israeli government, which violate international law, are well documented by human rights groups like B’Tselem. What’s more, our campaign is not a debate on Israel’s right to exist, what should ultimately happen in Israel/ Palestine, or a be-all end-all solution to the problem. DePaul Divest is simply a coalition of students that asks our university community to stop funding human rights violations. We are concerned with our own complicity in these human rights violations, and challenging this complicity is the goal of our campaign.

The facts here are simple: Our university is invested in corporations that profit off of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. That means we, as students at this institution, are complicit in human rights violations. A vote to divest is a vote to affirm the human rights of Palestinians, which are routinely and systematically denied by the state of Israel. It affirms not only Palestinian human rights, but also universal standards of human rights, which Israel must abide by, just like any other country.

Above all, we must ask ourselves: “Why are we, as a university that is supposedly committed to Vincentian ideals and social justice, invested in weapons manufacturers and human rights violators in the first place?” It needs to stop. Policies must be implemented that ensure socially responsible investment practices. The time to divest is now.

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DePaul Divest speaks out: No more misinformation