Signs of a new twist on the divestment phenomenon have recently been popping up on the campus of the University of New Orleans. Unlike the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign that began infiltrating college campuses nearly a decade ago, this divestment campaign targets the Palestinian Authority.
Started by Allies of Israel, a self-described “grass roots college organization dedicated to the promotion of the Jewish state of Israel as a sovereign nation,” this campaign asks students to sign a petition that states:
To raise awareness about the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority against the Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank; to call for accountability in the foreign aid given to the Palestinian Authority and ensure it is not used to persecute Palestinians or Israelis.
Campaign organizer and student activist Chloe Valdary released a statement to the Salomon Center:
In order to give expression to the Jewish struggle for freedom, my organization Allies of Israel has launched a campaign to symbolically divest from the Palestinian Authority. Because we understand many Palestinians are employed by the P.A., we do not wish to literally pull off the shelves products which are produced by the PA. However, we do seek to stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters who are imprisoned and persecuted by the P.A. This includes Palestinian women, gays, religious minorities and political dissidents. In addition, we stand in solidarity with Jews in Israel and around the world and call upon the P.A. to cease sponsoring, financing, and/or encouraging the lynching of Jews and the segregation of Jews from areas that are currently off limits to Jews in Israel.
The “DIVEST FROM THE P.A.” petition drive, currently a two-day event, March 17-18, is under consideration for taking the campaign online to expand awareness and draw attention to the persecution of Palestinians and Israelis by the Palestinian government, focusing on the human rights abuses perpetrated against women, gays and religious minorities.