Opinions

Your tuition supports human rights abusers

Dal supports weapon producer who sells to countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia

Your tuition supports human rights abusers
Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem. While the city is under Palestinian control, Israeli incursions into the city still take place.
written by Students for Justice in Palestine
March 16, 2017 3:44 pm

Your tuition is being given to organizations that sells weapons to governments that disregard international law. The money you give your university is indirectly going to oppressive regimes guilty of violating human rights and the Geneva Conventions governing the laws of war.

Let that sink in for a second.

If this is starting to sound problematic to you – and I sincerely hope it is – then it’s time for you to learn the details. General Dynamics is a weapons-producing company that we invest in. It sells its products to governments without regard for the lives those products may damage and end. GD, by taking this “profits-first” approach, enables violators of international law and human rights.

Take the examples of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both are states to whom General Dynamics sells arms, and both consistently commit war crimes and break international law. In the Israeli-Occupied West Bank, the blatantly illegal and immoral colonization and confiscation of indigenous Palestinian land continues, despite the international outcry; and Saudi Arabia’s leads a coalition bombing civilian populated areas and hospitals in Yemen. These are only a few of the many examples. Together, these acts violate Convention IV articles 47 and 56 of the Geneva Convention on the laws of war.

At King’s, the last president began making movements to give control of its endowment to Dalhousie. Because of who Dalhousie is invested in, this move would amount to literally handing money to companies profiting off military occupation, annexation, and war crimes. King’s students must therefore prevent these endowments being merged, and Dalhousie students must work to make their endowment an ethical one.

This semester, a coalition of groups at our university and in our community launched a new campaign to end Dalhousie University’s investment in General Dynamics and Israeli colonialism. We, as students, must remember that these institutions are for us. They exist on our behalf and substantially through our money. It is our obligation to try and change their investment strategies.  I therefore urge you to find Students for Justice in Palestine and our allies when we are canvassing for our petition in the Dalhousie SUB on Thursday’s at noon.

Now if you think this is too political for you to take a stand, then know that you already are standing on one side. Here’s why: everyone votes with their money. Every dollar we spend is a little vote of confidence in whoever gets the profits. Don’t give in to the handy little fiction that our investments are apolitical, or that your money can be used by GD while you remain neutral. It is by this mechanism that GD’s behavior is empowered unabated.

All this may appear to be symbolic, but it’s not. This is a concrete, economic, and non-violent resistance tactic we can employ in our community to show solidarity with the Palestinian and Yemeni people. And it works too; the African National Congress asked the world to help them defeat apartheid in this way, and so too do the Palestinians now.