Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine hosts panel discussion on divestment

Jan. 22, 2015, 10:00 a.m.

On Wednesday, the Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine (SOOP) coalition coordinated a panel of 11 student groups, members of which spoke out about their reasons for supporting the petition for Stanford’s divestment from corporations that allegedly facilitate human rights violations in the occupied Israel-Palestine territories.

According to Cole Manley ’14, one of the event coordinators, the purpose of the event was to highlight the intersectionality of support behind SOOP between student groups around campus. Another goal was to raise awareness about Palestinian civil society’s call for divestment and to educate the student body about events happening in occupied territories.

“Student groups as diverse as NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and MEchA de Stanford have all voted to endorse SOOP,” Manley said. “We really wanted to showcase and highlight the diverse reasons and intersections as to why they’ve done so.”

Some of the groups represented in the panel were the Black Student Union (BSU), Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC), Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL), Student and Labor Alliance (SALA), Students for Alternatives to Militarism (SAM) and Pilipino American Student Union (PASU).

The speakers said that even though the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was occurring six thousand miles away, their groups all had similar struggles, and their causes suffered from companies who were also allegedly committing human rights violations in occupied Palestinian territories.

Jessica Reed ’15, representative for the BSU, shared how Combined Tactical Systems, a corporation supplying crowd-dispersal munitions for use against Palestinians, has been producing tear gas that is allegedly used against non-violent black protesters in the United States responding to the events in Ferguson, Missouri.

“These struggles, although they aren’t the same, do have connections to each other,” Reed said.

Katherine Nasol ’15, PASU representative, said that the company Veolia has been contributing to human rights infringements in both Palestine and the Philippines.

“We have found many common themes between Filipino struggles with the Palestinian struggle for liberation.” Nasol said. “[Veolia] directly fuels our Marguerite shuttles everyday, but at the same time they have been connected to illegal Israeli settlements, and this company is also privatizing the water system in the Philippines.”

Approximately 50 students attended the event.

“I’m here just to inform myself,” said Andrew Vasquez ’16. “I see a lot of intersectionality between the black lives matter movement, and that is a movement that I’ve been personally involved in. So for me it makes sense to also pay attention to other groups of oppressed people.”

This panel was a part of six weeks of events that SOOP has planned on campus.

Contact Stephanie Zhang at szhang3 ‘at’

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