Declaration of Faculty and Librarians in Support of the GSU Campaign for Divestment from the Israeli Occupation

We, the undersigned faculty and librarians at the University of Toronto, declare our support for the Graduate Student Union’s petition for the University of Toronto to divest its holdings in….

We, the undersigned faculty and librarians at the University of Toronto, declare our support for the Graduate Student Union’s petition for the University of Toronto to divest its holdings in companies directly profiting from the ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territories. We are compelled to take this position out of dismay at the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Given the long-term failure of diplomacy alone to address the rapidly deteriorating situation of Palestinians, it is imperative to take further action. We must identify the injustices, speak out against them, and support the Palestinian appeal for solidarity.

As the atrocities escalate, there has been a groundswell of international support in recent years for divestment from companies directly implicated in the Israeli occupation. A broad array of civil society organizations, both in Canada and internationally, have already taken divestment actions, including churches, trade unions, student associations, financial institutions, and others.[[Churches include the United Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church (USA), the Church of England, the World Council of Churches, and the United Methodist Church. Trade unions include CUPE (Ontario), the Fédération des femmes du Québec, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and IMPACT (the Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Trade Union). Student senates at dozens of North American universities (including at least thirteen in Canada) have already passed resolutions to divest. Several financial institutions have divested from companies or Israeli banks that are supporting the occupation, including PGGM (Dutch), KPA Pension (Swedish), Danske Bank (Danish). For a comprehensive list of Canadian organizations applying economic pressures on Israel, see this web site.]] As the South African case proved, international pressure is crucial and has tangible impact. Our support for divestment conveys our conviction that Israel must be pressured to respect human rights and to conform to international law.

In light of the above, and in line with our university’s own Policy on Social and Political Issues with Respect to University Divestment, we join the students, administrative staff, and alumni who are petitioning the university to divest its shares in three companies: Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard, and Lockheed Martin.[[These shares are currently held in the Pension Master Trust and the Long Term Capital Appreciation Pool.]] These three companies have been singled out because they manufacture and sell weaponry and other technologies that are being used to destroy Palestinian lives and welfare on a daily basis. As has been amply demonstrated,[[For the full divestment brief, see here.]] these companies continue to be actively involved in the escalating violations of international law and in the intensifying abuse of human rights in the territories occupied by Israel. By investing in these companies, the University of Toronto not only betrays its own stated ethical principles, but becomes complicit in these violations. We too are complicit if we remain silent.

We therefore join the GSU’s demand that the University of Toronto:

1) immediately divest its stock in Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin;
2) form a committee of Governing Council to review all companies involved in violations of international law around the world; and
3) refrain from investing in all companies involved in such violations of international law.

1. Yasaman Aghazadeh, Experimental Therapeutics, University Health Network
2. Rand Askalan, Pediatrics
3. Bernd Baldus, Sociology
4. Roger Beck, Historical Studies, Classics (emeritus)
5. Daniel Bender, History
6. Joseph Berkovitz, Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology
7. Katherine Blouin, Classics
8. Dina Brooks, Physical Therapy
9. Elspeth Brown, History
10. James Robert Brown, Philosophy
11. Meyer Brownstone, Political Science (emeritus)
12. Michelle Buckley, Geography & Planning
13. Joseph H. Carens, Political Science
14. James Carscallen, English (emeritus)
15. Eric Cazdyn, East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature
16. Aziza Chaouni, Architecture
17. Jennifer Jihye Chun, Sociology
18. Kevin Coleman, History
19. Rebecca Comay, Philosophy and Comparative Literature
20. Deborah Cowen, Geography & Planning
21. Phyllis Creighton, Theology
22. Frank Cunningham, Philosophy and Political Science
23. Lucia Dacome, Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology
24. Bianca Dahl, Anthropology
25. Girish Daswani, Anthropology
26. Chandler Davis, Mathematics
27. Natalie Zemon Davis, History
28. James Deutsch, Faculty of Medicine
29. Margrit Eichler, FRSC, Social Justice Education, OISE
30. Michael Ekers, Geography & Planning
31. Uzoma Esonwanne, English
32. Mohammad Fadel, Law
33. Matthew Farish, Geography
34. Peter Fitting, French and Cinema Studies
35. Ursula M. Franklin, FRSC, University Professor Emerita, Materials Science & Engineering
36. Donna Gabaccia, History
37. David Galbraith, English
38. Frances Garrett, Study of Religion
39. Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Curriculum Teaching and Learning, OISE
40. Kanishka Goonewardena, Geography & Planning
41. Anup Grewal, History
42. Atiqa Hachimi, Historical and Cultural Studies & Linguistics
43. Paul Hamel, Lab. Medicine & Pathobiology
44. Ju Hui Judy Han, Geography & Planning
45. Jens Hanssen, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations and History
46. Amir Hassanpour, NMC
47. Barbara Havercroft, French and Comparative Literature
48. Grégoire Holtz, French
49. Karolina Hübner, Philosophy
50. Mark Hunter, Human Geography
51. Franca Iacovetta, History
52. Ryan Isakson, International Development Studies
53. Eva-Lynn Jagoe, Comparative Literature
54. Smaro Kamboureli, English
55. Malavika Kasturi, History
56. Ken Kawashima, East Asian Studies
57. Whitney Kemble, Library
58. Katie Kilroy-Marac, Anthropology
59. Paul Kingston, Political Science
60. Martin Klein, History (emeritus)
61. Christopher Krupa, Anthropology
62. Blair Kuntz, Robarts Library
63. Nicole Laliberte, Geography
64. Tong Lam, History
65. Michael Lambek, Anthropology
66. Patricia Landolt, Sociology
67. Katie Larson, English
68. Richard Borshay Lee, Anthropology
69. Victor Li, English and Comparative Literature
70. Agi Lukacs, Transitional Year Programme
71. Jamie Magnusson, Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education, OISE
72. Ruth Marshall, Political Science and Study of Religion
73. D’Arcy Martin, OISE
74. Krista Maxwell, Anthropology
75. Julie MacArthur, History
76. Bonnie McElhinny, Anthropology/WGSI
77. Jeannie Miller, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
78. Dieter Misgeld, Social Justice Education, OISE
79. Amira Mittermaier, Religion and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
80. Shahrzad Mojab, OISE
81. Brenda Mori, Physical Therapy
82. Andreas Motsch, French
83. Andrea Muehlebach, Anthropology
84. Kanta Murali, Political Science
85. Michelle Murphy, History
86. Nakanyike Musisi, History
87. Melanie Newton, History
88. Jan Noel, History
89. Linda Northrup, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
90. John Noyes, German
91. Mary Nyquist, English and Comparative Literature
92. Julian Patrick, English
93. Alejandro Paz, Anthropology
94. Chris Petrakos, Historical Studies
95. Jeffrey Pilcher, History
96. Régis Pomès, Biochemistry
97. Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
98. Scott Prudham, Geography & Planning
99. Ian Radforth, History
100. Bhavani Raman, History
101. Srilata Raman, Religion
102. Sherene Razack, Social Justice Education, OISE
103. Ajay Rao, Religion
104. Stephen Rockel, History
105. Richard Roman, Sociology
106. Peter Rosenthal, Mathematics
107. Natalie Rothman, History
108. Karen Ruffle, Religion
109. Atsuko Sakaki, East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature
110. Rania Salem, Sociology
111. Sara Salih, English
112. Sara Saljoughi, English and Cinema Studies
113. Nicholas Sammond, Cinema Studies Institute
114. Rosa Sarabia, Spanish and Portuguese
115. Dana Seitler, English
116. Jayeeta Sharma, History
117. Susan Sim, Faculty of Information
118. Neera Singh, Geography & Planning
119. Gavin Smith, Anthropology
120. Jesook Song, Anthropology
121. Kirsta Stapelfeldt, UTSC Library
122. Heater Sykes, Curriculum, Teaching & Learning
123. Vannina Sztainbok, Social Justice Education, OISE
124. Judith Taylor, Sociology & WGS
125. Neil ten Kortenaar, English and Comparative Literature
126. Laura Thrasher, Equity Studies
127. Miguel Torrens, Library
128. Nhung Tuyet Tran, History
129. D. Alissa Trotz, WGS
130. Mariana Valverde, Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
131. Karina Vernon, English
132. Rinaldo Walcott, OISE/WGSI
133. Mel Watkins, Economics
134. Jacqueline Whyte Appleby, Library
135. Jessica Wilson, Philosophy
136. Rebecca Wittmann, History
137. Donna Young, Anthropology
138. John Zilcosky, German and Comparative Literature
139. Yurou Zhong, East Asian Studies

PLEASE NOTE: By signing this declaration, your name will also be added to the GSU Divestment Petition found here. This signature includes the following clause: “We affirm that we have read in entirety, and agree with, the attached brief titled, “The Case for Divestment from Companies Benefitting from Violations of International Law and Human Rights Abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” For the full divestment brief, see here.