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Comment: Faculty for Palestine supports UVic encampment

Protesters want the university to divest from corporations supporting Israel.
A pro-Palestine protest encampment has been set up near the McPherson Library on the University of Victoria campus . DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Students and supporters who have set up a Palestine solidarity encampment at the University of Victoria are making an important statement about genocide that the UVic administration so far appears to have missed.

The media report that the “protesters want the university to divest from corporations supporting Israel.” It’s critical to understand the context for that divestment demand.

In January, the International Court of Justice issued a ruling that Israel was plausibly carrying out genocide in its military assault on Gaza.

It ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts” defined as genocidal by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Furthermore, the ICJ ordered Israel to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians” in Gaza.

More than three months later, Israel still defies the ICJ order, plunging Palestinians in Gaza even further into a genocidal abyss.

The Genocide Convention is explicit in requiring signatory states to act to “prevent and punish” the crime of genocide. Canada has signed the treaty and is obligated to act to defend it.

No less important, corporations and institutions within Canada are also bound to act to prevent genocide.

UVic has investments in Scotiabank, which holds the single largest share of foreign investments in the Israeli firm Elbit Systems, which has a hand in manufacturing 85 per cent of Israel’s weapons.

The missiles that Israel fired to kill seven aid workers with World Central Kitchens in Gaza in March were launched from an Elbit Systems drone. Elbit Systems armaments also contribute to the deaths of countless Palestinians.

Through this investment and others, UVic is not only morally tied to genocide. It is potentially legally complicit as well.

Faculty for Palestine UVic supports the students who are demanding that UVic divest from genocide.

Signed by William Carroll, ­professor, Department of Sociology; Larry Hannant, adjunct associate professor, Department of History; Zaheera Jinnah, assistant professor, School of Social Work; Margo Matwychuk, professor emeritus, Department of Anthropology; and Christine Sy, associate professor, Department of Gender Studies.