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Divest from Israeli war machine: an open letter to the Carleton community

Dear Carleton Community, 

This past week, more than 10,000 Gazans have been displaced from their homes, and at least 137 are confirmed to have died as Israel intensified bombing campaigns and threatened to launch an all-out ground invasion. Among the dead, at least 27 are children. Though the Israeli government blames this slaughter on a few rockets fired back in resistance, all this has been prompted by the Zionist state’s ongoing attempted theft of yet another Palestinian neighborhood. This time, Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem is to be depopulated for the benefit of illegal settlers. As Palestinians gathered to stop their homes from being taken at gunpoint, Israeli civilians and soldiers attacked worshippers at Al-Aqsa, the third-holiest masjid in Islam, during the final days of Ramadan. Even as Israel now proclaims a “ceasefire,” armed groups of Israeli civilians continue to attack Palestinians across the country, and police continue to meet protests with rubber-coated ballistic rounds and teargas.

As if this were not enough for Palestinians, last week also marks the anniversary of the Nakba, or Catastrophe, when, 73 years ago, Israeli soldiers backed by the British Empire and United States conducted mass campaigns of terrorist violence to depopulate cities across Palestine. These campaigns included rape, indiscriminate killings, and arson, among other crimes, and more than 750,000 Palestinians lost their homes. This was the beginning of the State of Israel, and many descendants of Palestinians exiled during the Nakba still languish in refugee camps. None have been permitted the right of return. Residents of Al-Quds report gangs of armed citizens showing up to beat them up or steal their houses. If police get involved, it’s on the side of the gangs. Clearly, the Nakba has never ended. 

Since the Nakba has never ended, investment in Israel is investment in crimes against humanity. It’s bad enough that US military contractors make tremendous amounts of money from this slaughter. It’s worse that more than $130 billion in US taxes have so far directly funded the brutal theft of Palestinian land. It is a sickening insult to all students, faculty, and staff that this institution has not divested from Israel. Carleton’s administrators are not responsible for the actions of military contractors or the US government, but they are responsible for Carleton. Every day they refuse to divest from Israel, they continue to fail our community in the worst way possible: Every dollar of Carleton money invested in Israeli entities implicates all of us in crimes against humanity. There is no incomplete solidarity: Whether we are indigenous or not, we must struggle alongside all nations fighting occupying powers for survival, from Anishnaabe to Oceti Sakowin  to Palestinians. Many police in the United States train in Israel; Palestinians and Black Lives Matter protestors here face the same rubber-coated ballistic rounds, teargas, and surveillance techniques. Israeli brutality is one face of American imperial brutality, and investing in Israel is investing in the oppression of marginalized communities from Palestine to Ferguson, so Carleton must not invest in Israel. We on campus see Israel’s crimes, and we will not allow Carleton to keep funding a terrorist occupation and ethnic cleansing campaign. 

We also strongly encourage all students to participate in the boycott of the Zionist regime. More information is available at bdslist.org. 

Carleton College must divest! Free Palestine!

Carleton Democratic Socialists of America

Carleton Divest 

Carleton Indigenous Peoples Alliance


Update: May 23, 2021 — The Carletonian was provided with an updated version of this letter after our Friday, May 21 print edition had already gone to press. The updated version is shown here. Several additional details were added, and Sunrise Carleton was removed as an author of the statement.

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