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Ensuring Investment Responsibility and
Protecting Human Rights in Israel and Palestine

Undergraduate Senate Resolution

Author: Nabill Idrisi

Co-Sponsors: Lisa Llanos, Melissa Morales

Submitted for Consideration: Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Action Requested: Approval; Requires 2/3 of Undergraduate Senate

WHEREAS Article I, Section 5 of the ASSU Constitution renders the Association to be “the sole representative of the entire Stanford student body”, and

WHEREAS Stanford University has a $14 billion endowment, which ranks it “in the top 2% of all national and college endowments,” according to the Stanford Management Company, and

WHEREAS students at Stanford have a vested interest in ensuring that investments of the said endowment do not compromise basic standards of morality, and

WHEREAS the University also has a moral obligation to ensure that it does not invest in companies that violate international law or abuse basic human rights, and

WHEREAS Israel’s current occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights stands in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied” during the 1967 war and

WHEREAS in its Advisory Opinion on July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) deemed that the West Bank separation barrier “severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of its rights to self-determination” and strongly encouraged the government to “dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated,” and

WHEREAS Israel has a right to defend itself within the boundaries of international law, and

WHEREAS Amnesty International has noted that the basic human rights of Palestinian civilians are regularly being violated through the use of “closures, curfews, and demolitions of homes as a form of collective punishment,” and

WHEREAS Human Rights Watch stated on November 18, 2006, that “The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority needs to take immediate steps to end attacks on civilians by Hamas’s own militant wing and other armed groups…[it] must stop these blatant violations of the most fundamental principles of international humanitarian law,” and

WHEREAS the aforementioned facts demonstrate violation of international law or abuse of human rights, and

WHEREAS in its 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the U.S. State Department reported that, “The [Israeli] government made little headway in reducing institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country’s Arab citizens,” and

WHEREAS we acknowledge and commend the University’s continuous efforts to maintain a standard of morality in its investments, and

WHEREAS divestment is a serious consideration for the Trustees when they “conclude that a company’s activities or policies cause substantial social injury,” according to Section 2.3 of Stanford’s Statement on Investment Responsibility, October 15, 2002, and

WHEREAS Stanford University has previously divested from companies that have enabled human rights abuses, and

WHEREAS divestment from abuses in a particular country isn’t meant to alienate or offend students with strong religious, ethnic, or other ties to that country, and

WHEREAS multinational corporations have caused said “substantial social injury” in Israel and the Palestine, and

WHEREAS Stanford’s Code of Conduct requires the university “to ensure we fulfill our legal and ethical obligations…to persons outside Stanford.”

WHEREAS divestment from said companies can exert the necessary pressure to bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Associated Students of Stanford University:

THAT the Board of Trustees reevaluate investments in companies that violate international law and abuse human rights in Israel and Palestine by:

  1. Enabling militant organizations to carry out attacks on civilians
  2. Providing military support and weaponry to facilitate operations in territories that are illegally occupied
  3. Supporting the building or maintenance of the separation barrier currently being built in the West Bank
  4. Facilitating home demolition, land confiscation or other acts of collective punishment upon civilians
  5. Engaging in practices that institutionally discriminate against people of a specific race, religion, or ethnicity, and

THAT following the guidelines of Section 2.3 of Stanford’s Statement on Investment Responsibility, October 15, 2002, the Board of Trustees exercise practicable shareholder rights in seeking to modify the company’s activities to eliminate or reduce the substantial social injury thereby caused, and if all other options are exhausted, to divest from said company, and

THAT the Undergraduate Senate encourage the University to demonstrate active support for all organizations that are calling for peace in the region, and

THAT the Undergraduate Senate, in consultation with pertinent student groups, hold a university-wide town hall to provide a fair and open forum for dialogue about the issues presented here within, and

THAT the Undergraduate Senate reaffirm Jane and Leland Stanford’s founding commitment “to promote public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.”

Click Here to Read our Divestment Petition!

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