Statement of Solidarity with Students Protesting in Solidarity with Palestine

Statement of Solidarity with Students Protesting in Solidarity with Palestine

The executive of CUPE 3903 stands in unwavering solidarity with and support for the students and workers across the globe acting in solidarity with Palestinian people. In particular, we recognize and celebrate the tremendous bravery of the students and workers participating in the People’s Circle for Palestine at the University of Toronto encampment, who refused to let academic institutional complicity with the genocide in Palestine by the Israeli State continue. 

There is not one single university left in Gaza. On 18 April 2024, UN experts expressed grave concern over the “pattern of attacks on schools, universities, teachers, and students in the Gaza Strip, raising serious alarm over the systemic destruction of the Palestinian education system”. The International Court of Justice’s preliminary ruling stated that all actions must be taken to prevent further genocide in Gaza. Students and academic workers have shown that they will not sit idly by while genocide takes place. 

We are proud of the CUPE 3903 members and students of the York University community who refuse to let our tuition money and exploitation of our wages be used in business ventures that sustain violence against Palestinians. In particular, much of this labour is being carried by racialized members and by members who experience the violence and repression of the university most heavily. We want to pay special tribute to the Palestinian Solidarity Working Group, a coalition of Jewish, Arab, and many diverse rank-and-file members who have demonstrated an unrelenting commitment to peace, justice and freedom for Palestine. 

CUPE 3903 has a long-standing member-driven history of Palestinian solidarity. We were proudly one of the first unions to support the peaceful Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign, called by the Palestinian Civil Society in 2005, to pressure Israel to comply with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights. Since then, our members have called on the York University administration numerous times to divest from on-going investments in weapons manufacturers that profit from Palestinian suffering. To this date, York University still has investments in Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Textron Inc., and Amphenol. These companies all supply weapons and technologies to Israel, and are directly responsible for the forcible displacement and genocide of Palestinian people. The cost of our education should not be the lives of others.

The demands for disclosure of, and divestment from, any financial investments and institutional relationships that facilitate the continuation of violence, genocide, and apartheid have been echoed around the world by students, activists, and workers. These demands reflect a principled stance in support of justice, equality, and human rights for the Palestinian people. 

CUPE 3903 supports the rights of all academics, students, unionists, and activists to speak out against all forms of violence and oppression without fear of intimidation or reprisal. We join Jews Say No to Genocide in “calling on all academic institutions in Toronto and across so-called Canada to uphold their commitment to free expression and to refuse to engage in any efforts that repress lawful and peaceful dissenting pro-Palestinian voices”. 

We denounce any action by university officials, be it York University or otherwise, governments, and police who use or threaten intimidation, aggression, and violence against peaceful activists and academics. These tactics deny students their rights to freedom of assembly and academic freedom as they fight for a world without apartheid and genocide, and for freedom for the Palestinian people.  

Solidarity with encampment actions across the world. We will not be silenced.