USA – Yale University students launches boycott, divestments, sanctions campaign

Image: Yale daily news

New Haven, CT – A Yale University student group has launched the school’s first ever boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, according to a report by the Yale Daily News.

“Yalies 4 Palestine” (Y4P), a group founded in 2019, is calling for the university to sever ties with G4S, a British security company providing technology for the campus’ police department, as well as its surveillance and scanning systems. G4S is a frequent target of BDS activists over its partnerships with Israeli prisons.

“Discourse around Palestine is so contentious and misconstrued at Yale that there has never been [a BDS campaign],” Y4P organizer Ruqaiyah Damrah told the Yale Daily News. “We’re hoping that our campaign will generate important discussions around what it means to stand in solidarity with oppressed and colonized people around the world and what we mean when we say that all struggles are fundamentally connected.”

“We’re hoping to increase pressure on Yale’s administration to question their affiliation with a company that so blatantly participates in human rights violations and imperial violence around the world,” she continued.

Other Y4P members said the drawing power of G4S technologies is “rooted in its efficiency and capacity for violence,” the Yale Daily added, while Damrah insisted that anti-Israel politics has less to do with Jewishness and more to do with “white supremacy modeled after European forms of colonialism.”

The student’s public statements about Israel have courted controversy before. In 2021, during the country’s war with Hamas, she co-authored a statement accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and apartheid while arguing that that “the fight against Israel’s apartheid is interconnected with the fight to defund the police in the US.”

“Just as Israel’s military enforces the apartheid system against Palestinians, the US police enforces the system of white supremacy against Black Americans,” she said.

The Yale College Council later endorsed Damrah’s polemic, prompting the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale to respond with a public letter condemning its “antisemitic overtones” and portrayal of Israel “as an agent of the world’s most reprehensible forces and guilty of the most unspeakable crimes.”

Yale University told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that Yalies 4 Palestine has not formally asked administrators to dissolve GS4’s contract.

In 2013, the university’s president, Peter Salovey, rejected academic boycotts of Israel, saying, “Any attempt to close off discussion or dialogue among scholars is antithetical to the fundamental values of scholarship and academic freedom.”

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