The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Staff Editorial: Guilford College should join Palestine’s BDS movement

It must be noted that we approach this topic with hesitation.

The area between Jordan and the Mediterranean contains many different narratives, many of which conflict.

However, based on our research, we urge Guilford College to question how our investments support the Israeli government’s policies.

We cannot deny that there have been acts of violence on both sides. Generations of Israelis have grown up with rocket shelters under their homes to protect against Hamas and Hezbollah’s rockets, while generations of Palestinians have grown up with armed soldiers, tear gas and tanks outside their front door.

Yet it would be a mistake to rest on the general platitude of “both sides have done wrong, now we just want peace for everyone.” Of course we want peace. The American people want peace, the Palestinian people want peace, the Israeli people want peace. The question is, do Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government want peace?

Israel should come under particular scrutiny. They control the borders of not only their own state but the West Bank and most of Gaza as well, and directly control 60 percent of the West Bank.

Moreover, they are an ally of the United States and receive $3 billion in military aid from us every year. We are tied to them diplomatically and economically. Therefore, we are partially culpable for Israel’s action.

How, then, has Israel acted in the past year?

Netanyahu’s government has received much criticism internationally for its recent military operations in Gaza. According to Israeli estimates, around 50 percent of the casualties in the recent campaign in Gaza were civilians, while the U.N. puts the number closer to 70 percent.

Civilian casualties, though, are not the only issue over which Israel has received criticism recently. As recently as the first of September, Israel declared almost 1,000 new acres of the West Bank to be state land, and earlier this year, peace talks ground to a halt in part due to Israel’s insistence on keeping their West Bank settlements and continuing to build more.

We cannot, and do not, condone anti-Semitism, racism or terrorism. We also cannot support the Israeli government  until they begin following the values of human rights they claim to uphold.

In 2005, the Palestinian Civil Society called for international support in a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel “until it complies with International Law and universal principles of human rights.” Countries, universities and religious institutions all over the world have participated in the BDS call.

The Friends Fiduciary Corporation divested from Hewlett-Packard and Veolia in 2012, just two of the companies profiting off of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

As a college founded in Quaker values, we call for Guilford College and the community to consider carefully how our investments and votes support the policies of Israel.

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