Statement from UC faculty on divestment from Israel

With the Associated Students of the University of California, Davis, or ASUCD, vote to pass Senate Resolution 9, known as the “divestment resolution,” UC Davis joined the student governments of six other UC campuses (UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz), and a larger number of universities nationwide.

The resolution calls upon the UC regents to refrain from investing in certain companies that openly assist the Israeli government and army in the occupation of Palestine, in violation of international law and multiple United Nations resolutions. The recent University of California Student Association vote confirms that this is a demand strongly made by the student representatives of the UC system at large, as did a corresponding vote last fall by the union for student employees.

As faculty, we strongly urge the administration to heed this call. Divestment is not a “personal and emotional” issue, as UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi claimed in the email circulated almost immediately after the ASUCD vote — a letter that affirmed the administration’s withdrawal from any obligation to the ratified commitments of the student body it purportedly serves. Divestment is one of few widely accepted means by which civil society can influence global politics. We deplore the attempts to disguise this broad struggle as local identity politics that can thereby be dismissed, as well as the university administrators’ concomitant failure to secure a campus environment that is safe and equitable for all without fear of harassment and intimidation.

The University of California has historically been in the forefront of progressive movements and struggles for social justice and an end to militarism and violence, thanks to strong student movements. Today, the university has more than 240,000 students, and it is incumbent upon its administrators to abandon their autocratic practices and honor the duly expressed demands of this population to continue to honor this position that the university has historically occupied.


Joshua Clover           professor, English, UC Davis

Noha Radwan          associate professor, Comparative Literature, UC Davis

Natalia Deeb-Sossa  associate professor, Chicana/o Studies, UC Davis

Sunaina Maira        professor, Asian American Studies, UC Davis

Rutie Adler              lecturer in Hebrew, UC Berkeley

Caren Kaplan          professor, American Studies, UC Davis

Omnia El Shakry    associate professor, History, UC Davis

Susy Zepeda            assistant professor, Chicana/o Studies, UC Davis

Adam Sabra            professor, Islamic Studies, UC Santa Barbara

Susette Min             associate professor, Asian American Studies, UC Davis

Neil Larsen              professor, Comparative Literature, UC Davis

Eric Smoodin          professor, American Studies, UC Davis

Jeff Fort                   associate professor, French & Italian, UC Davis

Donald L. Donham distinguished professor, Anthropology, UC Davis

Flagg Miller             associate professor, Religious Studies, UC Davis

Marisol de la Cadena         professor, Anthropology, UC Davis

Rei Terada              professor, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine

Suzana Sawyer       associate professor, Anthropology, UC Davis

Christine Hong       assistant professor, Literature, UC Santa Cruz

Hatem Bazian         lecturer of Arabic, UC Berkeley

Howard Winant      professor, Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Samera Esmeir       associate professor, Rhetoric, UC Berkeley

David Lloyd             distinguished professor, English, UC Riverside

Nouri Gana              associate professor, Comparative Literature, UCLA

Jocelyn Sharlet       associate professor, Comparative Literature, UC Davis

Dylan Rodriguez     professor and chair, Ethnic Studies, UC Riverside

Lisa Rofel                 professor, Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz

Noha Guynn            associate professor, French and Comparative Literature

Jesse Drew              professor, Cinema and Technoculture, UC Davis

Nancy Gallegher     professor, History, UC Santa Barbara

Robin Hill                professor, Art Studio, UC Davis

Tom Bills                 professor of Art, UC Davis

May Wilson             visiting professor, Art Studio, UC Davis

Jaimey Fisher          professor, German, Cinema & Technocultural Studies, UC Davis

Jeffrey Sachs           associate professor, Comparative Literature, UC Riverside

Devra Weber          associate professor, History, UC Riverside

Sondra Hale            professor emeritus, Anthropology and Gender Studies, UCLA

Chris Tilly                professor, Urban Planning, UCLA

Marie Kennedy      professor, Urban Planning, UCLA

Ali Anooshar           associate professor, History, UC Davis

Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @dailycalopinion.

A previous version of this op-ed stated that UC Davis had passed an Israel divestment resolution. In fact, though it passed, the resolution was overturned by the ASUCD court on Feb. 19.

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  • Warren Gacsi


  • Anon Ymous

    There is no such thing as “Palestine.” “Palestine” is a racist Arab supremacist concept invented in order to steal the Jewish homeland.

  • Anon Ymous

    Thanks for proving that the faculty of UC Davis are raving anti-Semitic lunatics. I hope you all die.

  • M2000

    It’s “Progressive” to support rocket attacks on Israelis…yea thanks “Progressive” Regressives.

  • thompson_richard

    Technion President Peretz Lavi said that $133 million donation from former UC San Diego Professor Irwin M. Jacobs (& his wife, Joan) has been divided equally between Cornell University and the New York-based American Technion Society. The couple previously donated $26 million to found the Jacobs Graduate School at a foreign, public institution of tertiary learning (Technion). Mayor Bloomberg said “the Institute will serve as a bridge between Israel and the USA and Haifa and New York.” Technion President Lavie informed The Jewish Week just prior to the then mayor’s announcement that he will focus on recruiting Israeli academics who have lived in the United States for at least 15 to 20 years. He dubbed it the Haifa-on-the-East-River, and that it will allow those expatriates to make “half-aliyah” by working under Israeli auspices. “We have a core of Israelis in the information technology field who are some of the leading researchers in the U.S. and if we are able to attract them to New York we will have here a community that is very close to Israel and Technion,” he said. “Conversely, we hope to attract Israelis to New York as a final step to get them back to Israel.” Lavie also said the Institute would serve as a “bridgehead” (his word) for Israeli companies based at home or in New York to better establish themselves. “I believe in 20 years there will be a Silicon Valley in California, Silicon Wadi on Israel’s coastal plain and Silicon Island in New York.”

    Asked about international efforts to boycott Israeli universities and academics — one group having formed in New York City to try to block the Cornell/Technion tertiary amalgam because of Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians — Lavie replied: “Close to 20 percent of Technion students are Israeli Arabs, double the percentage of a decade ago, and he said that their dropout rate had fallen to 11 percent from 45 percent in that time. He said there are no Palestinian students, however, because those students are not free to travel to Haifa.

    • simonts

      We have a lot of Palestinian students in the UC system and it seems that they are much more interested in spreading lies, prejudice and hate than actually studying.

      • thompson_richard

        We need a new UC Richmond campus aka “Technion West” about as much as we need a torn cornea.
        Germany, France and the UK waited to join the new China bank as soon as our “core values” became exclusively identified with those of Israel.
        China’s Premier and UN Secretary General appeared on the podium with Putin to review Russian troops celebrating VE Day.
        Simultaneously, the King of Saudi Arabia snubs Obama.
        It’s a battle for continuance of our reserve currency status. With Israel at our side — we’ll surely lose.

        • simonts

          Yeah, we should have Palestinian terrorist murderers on our side, huh?

  • SamXie

    UC Davis rescinded their support., claiming the resolution was “unconstitutional;”

    From the Sac Bee, the local paper:
    UC Davis’ student court on Wednesday ruled against the student
    senate’s resolution calling for the University of California to divest
    itself of businesses with ties to Israeli military actions.

    The Court of the Associated Students of UC Davis found that the ASUCD Senate
    resolution was political in nature and did not fall within the purview
    of the student government, which is to deal with issues affecting
    student welfare. The court responded to a student appeal of the
    divestment resolution.

    Maxwell Kappes, vice president of the ASUCD
    Senate, said the student court has five days to post its decision and
    that decision won’t be official until it is posted. But he said the
    court’s decision that the divestment resolution was unconstitutional
    essentially rescinds the resolution and no action by the student senate
    is required.

  • Dan Spitzer

    The Daily Cal headline for this op-ed is absurdly misleading. It gives the illusion that support for divestment is widespread among UC faculty when in reality, more than half of the small number of signatories above are from UC Davis and even factoring this, in the few signers comprising schools where they teach average only about 5 per campus. You’d probably find more faculty supporting students wearing less odoriferous footgear on campus than divestment from Israel…

    • Dan Spitzer

      The following quote taken from the NY Times page 1 piece regarding the growth of anti-Semitism on campus, particularly on UC campuses, speaks volumes about what this handful of faculty are advocating;

      “The overall culture of targeting Israel led to targeting Jewish
      students,” said Natalie Charney, student president of the U.C.L.A.
      chapter of Hillel. “People say that being anti-Israel is not the same as
      being anti-Semitic. The problem is the anti-Israel culture in which we
      are singling out only the Jewish state creates an environment where it’s
      O.K. to single out Jewish students.”

      • robman012

        Using that logic, one can say that being anti Iran is the same thing as being anti Persian. Its illogical. Nothing more than a ploy to try and silence Israeli policy detractors.

        • ThatLibertarianGuy

          Persians also live in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan as well.

      • Gene Nelson

        I love how Spitzer always likes his own posts.

  • Chris Nafy

    Amazing work. Glad such a prominent university advocates for justice in such a supposedly “controversial” matter.

    • simonts

      More precisely they are advocating for bigotry, prejudice and hate. They, and anyone supporting this abomination, should be ashamed of themselves.

      • Chris Nafy

        I agree! I hope more and more people realize the truth about israel and how much bigotry, prejudice and hate they practice and spread. The same goes to the ignoramuses that support such an apartheid state.

        • simonts

          You intentionally “misunderstood” my comment, nice try but no cigar, It is you and your friends on our campuses who practice bigotry and hate,, trying to infect the minds of our young people with it. You will fail.

  • robman012

    Thank you!

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