Noam Chomsky endorses Berkeley divestment

Letter to the ASUC Senate in support of SB 118A, the divestment bill

I would like to express my support and appreciation for the principled statement of the ASUC Senate calling for divestment from US corporations providing military technology for Israel to use in the occupied territories and in its past and possibly future invasions of Lebanon. Amnesty International has gone further, calling for a full arms embargo during Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza in January 2009, with pretexts that do not withstand a moment’s scrutiny, one of the most egregious of recent US-backed Israeli crimes.

There can be no question about the right, in fact responsibility, of students to express their concerns about official actions of their university, and to call on university authorities to refrain from improper actions — in this case, indirect participation in ongoing crimes. The statement appropriately focuses on our own responsibilities: on our own actions — or inaction — and their consequences. That much is hardly more than moral truism. In the present case, the decision goes beyond moral truism: the US plays a decisive role in implementing illegal Israeli takeover of occupied territories, harsh repression, violence and aggression. It is our responsibility to do what we can to act ourselves, and to mobilize others, to change the US government policies that foster serious crimes and bar the path to peaceful diplomatic settlement. Terminating support for US corporations that participate in US-backed Israeli crimes is a significant step towards this end, both in its policy and educational implications.

Noam Chomsky
Lexington, MA

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