After Gaza massacre, 40 Cambridge University student groups demand boycott of BAE and Caterpillar!

University of Cambridge: end your partnership with Caterpillar Inc. and BAE Systems!

Jointly initiated by Cambridge University Palestine Society and Cambridge University Kurdish Society.

We, the undersigned, call on the University of Cambridge to immediately terminate its partnership with Caterpillar Inc. and BAE Systems, as part of the Cambridge Service Alliance. By maintaining this relationship, the University has made itself, and us, shamefully complicit in war crimes. These companies have been essential in enabling major violations of international law by the states of Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

On the 14th of May in Gaza, Israeli soldiers killed 62 Palestinians with live ammunition, wounding thousands of others, as they demonstrated for their internationally recognised rights (under UN Resolution 194) as refugees to return to their homes.

Israel has a long and brutal history of such violations of international humanitarian law in occupied Palestine. House demolitions, extrajudicial assassination of unarmed civilians, and settlement construction are all recognised as gross violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 (Geneva IV), which prohibits the destruction of property, murder, disproportionate use of force, and the forcible transfer of populations by the Occupying Power. Britain as a signatory of this treaty has an obligation to ensure respect for its implementation, especially in terms of grave breaches (war crimes) by other signatories. Israel’s transfer of hundreds of thousands of its citizens as settlers into the West Bank are also grave breaches under Geneva IV. These are all, under the International Criminal Court’s (ICC)statute, considered war crimes.

As highlighted by Human Rights Watch, Caterpillar Inc. supplies the militarized D9 bulldozers used by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to demolish thousands of Palestinian homes, making way for Jewish-only settlements.

BAE Systems is central to British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, supplying the regime with the Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets which are used to indiscriminately bomb civilians in Yemen, flattening schools and hospitals, and destroying families.

They also supply hundreds of millions of pounds worth of military equipment, including fighter jets, to the Turkish state, whose recent assault on Afrin in Northern Syria saw the indiscriminate shelling and bombing of Kurdish civilians, killing more than 500 and displacing thousands, in the space of weeks. This followed the brutal massacres by Turkish government forces in 2016, of hundreds of civilians, enforced disappearances, torture, the displacement of up to half a million people, and the systematic destruction of housing in Kurdish towns and cities across southeastern Turkey such as Cizre, Nusaybin and the Sur district of Diyarbakir, highlighted by the UN High Commission for Human Rights’ in its report. This destruction was significantly enabled by military equipment and technology directly obtained through recent contracts with BAE.

BAE also provides the targeting displays in F-16 fighters jets, which Israel used extensively in its attack on Gaza in 2014, killing over 1400 Palestinian civilians, a third of them children.

The University of Cambridge maintains a close relationship with both BAE Systems and Caterpillar Inc. through the ‘Cambridge Service Alliance’. Set up in 2010, the programme is dubbed “a unique global alliance between leading businesses and universities”, working together to research innovation in the services sector. Vice Chancellor Stephen Toope sought to justify these partnerships, at an open meeting on Tuesday 15th May, by pointing out that they do not pertain directly to military equipment production.

This is not good enough. BAE Systems and Caterpillar Inc. supply essential products and services to the perpetrators of war crimes, facilitating the killing of thousands of Palestinian, Kurdish and Yemeni civilians. As members of the University of Cambridge, students and staff alike, we are deeply ashamed that our institution maintains such large and active links with corporate entities trading in mass murder and human misery. For as long as these links continue, Cambridge cannot fulfil its pretensions to being ethically responsible, or a social leader.

In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society groups called on us, citizens of conscience around the world, to boycott the Israeli state and those corporations complicit in violations of international law, in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Kurdish activists have also recently begun to call on global civil society for boycotts, sanctions, and divestment from the Turkish state.

We demand that the University of Cambridge honour its ethical responsibilities by immediately terminating the participation of Caterpillar Inc. and BAE Systems in the Cambridge Service Alliance, and cease all institutional links with both companies until they end their role in such terrible violations of international law.

Signed,

University and college groups

Cambridge University Palestine Society

Cambridge University Kurdish Society

Cambridge University Middle East Society

Cambridge University Afghan Society

Cambridge University Pakistan Society

Cambridge University Amnesty International

Oxfam Cambridge University

Cambridge University Students’ Union Women’s Campaign

Cambridge University Students’ Union BME Campaign

Cambridge University Students’ Union LGBT+ Campaign

Cambridge University Students’ Union Disabled Students’ Campaign

Cambridge University Students’ Union Class Act Campaign

FLY Girls of Cambridge

FUSE Cambridge

Decolonise Cambridge

Demilitarise Cambridge

Cambridge Zero Carbon Society

Cambridge Defend Education

Cambridge University Human Rights Law Society

Cambridge PEN

Cambridge SolidariTee

Cambridge Student Action for Refugees

Just Love Cambridge

Robinson Cut the Rent

King’s Bunker

King’s College Feminist Society

Emmanuel College Feminist Society

Churchill College Feminist Society

Jesus College Feminist Society

The Beard Society — Peterhouse Society and Platform for Feminist Discussion

Jo Cox Feminist Society, Pembroke College

Trinity Hall Feminist Forum

Cambridge Cut the Rent

Critical Theory & Practice Seminar Series

Preventing Prevent at Cambridge

Cambridge Marxist Society

Cambridge University Momentum Society

Cambridge University Oxfam Society

Cambridge University Vegan Society

Declarations: The Human Rights Podcast

Cambridge Urbanism in the Global South Working Group

Academics and staff

Professor Clément Mouhot, Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics

Professor Raymond Geuss, Faculty of Philosophy (Emeritus)

Professor Khaled Fahmy, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Professor François de Blois, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Dr Rachael Harris, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Dr Roman Vater, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Samuel Carlshamre, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Farida El Keiy, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Jill Cooper, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Dr Robert Macfarlane, Faculty of English

Dr Priyamvada Gopal, Faculty of English

Dr Jason Scott-Warren, Faculty of English

Dr Jean Chothia, Faculty of English

Dr Ross Wilson, Faculty of English

Dr Michael Hrebeniak, Faculty of English

Dr Hero Chalmers, Faculty of English

Dr Ruth Watson, Faculty of History

Dr. Nicholas Guyatt, Faculty of History

Dr Andrew Arsan, Faculty of History

Dr Arthur Asseraf, Faculty of History

Dr Alex Campsie, Faculty of History

Dr Waseem Yaqoob, Faculty of History

Dr Renaud Morieux, Faculty of History

Dr Natalia Mora-Sitja, Faculty of History

Dr Hubertus Jahn, Faculty of History

Dr Mezna Qato, Faculty of History

Dr Nick Evans, Faculty of History

Ayse Polat, PhD student, Faculty of History

Dr Steven Watson, Faculty of Education

Dr Arathi Sriprakash, Faculty of Education

Dr Lottie Hoare, Faculty of Education

Dr Mark Carrigan, Faculty of Education

Dr. Tyler Denmead, Faculty of Education

Professor Simon Schaffer, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Dr Joseph D. Martin, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Dr Mary A Brazelton, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Dr Joshua Nall, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Jenny Bulstrode, PhD student, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Azita Chellappoo, PhD student, Department of History & Philosophy of Science

Eoin Carter, PhD student, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Professor Caroline Humphrey, Department of Social Anthropology

Professor Marilyn Strathern, Department of Social Anthropology (Emeritus)

Dr Yael Navaro, Department of Social Anthropology

Dr Sian Lazar, Department of Social Anthropology

Dr. Sertaç Sehlikoglu, Department of Social Anthropology

Dr Fiona Wright, Department of Social Anthropology

Dr Andrew Sanchez, Department of Social Anthropology

Dr. Barbara Bodenhorn, Department of Social Anthropology (Emeritus)

Dr Monica Moreno Figueroa, Department of Sociology

Dr Jana Bacevic, Department of Sociology

Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Department of Sociology

Dr. Katie Gaddini, Department of Sociology

Heather Stallard, Administrator, Department of Sociology

Maria Hengeveld, PhD student, POLIS

Tobias Müller, PhD student, POLIS

Josh Platzky-Miller, PhD student, Centre of Development Studies

Dr Anne Alexander, Research Associate, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

Dr. Hugo Leal, Research Associate, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

Nadi Abusaada, Department of Architecture

Dr Sandra Cortijo, Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University

Dr. John David Rhodes, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages

Dr Natasha Tanna, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages

Dr Houshang Ardavan, Institute of Astronomy

Hakan Sandal, PhD student, Centre for Gender Studies

Elizabeth Yarrow, PhD student, Centre for Gender Studies

Juliet Allen, PhD Student, Centre for Gender Studies

Dr Barzan Sadiq, Department of Pathology

Matt Mahmoudi, PhD Student, POLIS

Rebwar R. Salih, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology

Dilar Dirik, PhD student, Department of Sociology

Diane Barlee, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology

Zeina Al Azmeh, PhD student, Department of Sociology

Prof Marilyn Strathern, Social Anthropology (Emeritus)

Dr Surabhi Ranganathan, Faculty of Law

Dr Simon Schoenbuchner, MRC Biostatistics Unit

Dr Nicki Kindersley, Faculty of History

Jack Dixon, Librarian, History and Philosophy of Science

Dr Kate Daniels, Language Centre

Dr Julieta Galante, Department of Psychiatry

Professor Patrick Keiller, Department of Architecture

ACADEMICS AND STUDENT GROUPS, ADD SIGNATURES HERE.

Press contact: cambridgepalsoc@gmail.com

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