AMS Stands in Solidarity with Palestinian Students

The Alma Mater Society of UBC Vancouver stands in solidarity with Palestinian Students at UBCV and condemns the Israeli State’s system of apartheid and its occupation of Palestine

Apartheid is a system of institutionalized oppression. It involves systematic actions committed by one group for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination over another group and systematically oppressing them. Apartheid is a crime against humanity and the acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid are crimes violating international law[i].

Over the last few decades, the Israeli State has developed laws and policies that are intended to fragment, dispossess, and segregate the Palestinian population to maintain control over them and deprive them of economic, social, and political rights[ii]. This has been paired with the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes, and forced displacement of Palestinian civilians. When people have objected to these discriminatory laws, they have been met with excessive and deadly force from authorities of the Israeli State, leading to thousands of Palestinians, civilians, and activists being injured, arrested, and killed[iii].

While the term “apartheid” has most commonly been used to refer to the South African system of racial segregation from 1948 to the early 1990’s, it has been used in a number of other contexts to describe the systematic segregation, oppression, and forced separation of groups of peoples. Palestinians have for decades been urging the International Community to recognize the crimes of the State of Israel as apartheid. Recently, more and more human rights organizations – including Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch, and B’tselem (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) – have released extensive reports detailing the oppressive policies and practices being enacted by the Israeli State. Based on their research, all of these reports come to the same conclusion, which is that the Israeli State is committing apartheid against Palestinians.

On the UBC Campus, Palestinian students and student activists have for years now been speaking out against these atrocities and calling on our community to take a stance against the Israeli State’s settler-colonial violence inflicted on Palestinians and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We want to honour the labour of all of the student groups and thank them for bringing these important issues, like this motion, to the AMS. In March, student groups presented on this issue and proposed a motion to the AMS Advocacy Committee. After discussing the matter, the Committee unanimously approved the motion, referring it to AMS Council, and on March 23rd, 2022, after a nearly four-hour discussion, AMS Council passed the following motion with a 2/3 resolution:

WHEREAS the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 has declared that Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories are a “flagrant violation of international law” and that they violate Palestinian human rights.

WHEREAS the United Nations has produced a database of companies which are wrongly contributing to the development of these illegal settlements.

And whereas this UN database includes six companies, shares of which are held by the University of British Columbia: Motorola Solutions Inc, General Mills Inc, Partner Communications Ltd, Bezeq the Israeli Telecommunications Corporation, Cellcom Israel Ltd, and Bank Hapoalim BM.

WHEREAS UBC also holds shares in three other companies that have been cited and documented by Investigate (produced by the American Friends Service Committee) and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East to be violating Palestinian human rights: Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin.

And whereas UBC has a responsible investment policy and has signed onto the United Nations responsible investment program.

Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AMS will pen a letter to UBC and the Board of Governors to direct the UBC Endowment Fund to divest from the nine companies mentioned above[1].

Therefore, BIFRT that the AMS will release a statement condemning the Israeli state’s system of apartheid and its occupation of Palestine.

Therefore, BIFRT AMS refers to advocacy committee in looking into advocacy towards the UBC Board of Governors to adopt a human rights based/ ESG principles in all investments, in decreasing financial risk and exposure, including but not limited to,

Requesting UBC Disclose information regarding direct investments and undisclosed endowments

Consulting Students and student groups on developing a strategy to achieve the aforementioned goal by August 30th, 2022.

The AMS denounces all systems of apartheid and oppression, and as such we condemn the Israeli State’s system of apartheid and its occupation of Palestine in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the Syrian Golan Heights[iv]. For clarity, the AMS denounces these actions – the harmful laws, policies and practices – enacted by the State of Israel and this is in no way a condemnation of Israeli or Jewish citizens or students.

The AMS is a student union, and our mission is to improve the quality of the educational, social, and personal lives of all UBC students. We must recognize the unique, diverse and multi-faceted educational, social, and personal needs of our global community. We have a responsibility for – and are committed to – providing an environment where all of our students can live, work, and study free from oppression and violence. The AMS stands with Palestinian students at UBCV, and the AMS condemns all systems of oppression, including but not limited to, apartheid, patriarchy, white supremacy, racism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism. Our work for justice and equality is inclusive of all.


[1] At the time of the release of this statement, the UBC Endowment Fund public equity holdings indicate investments in only two of the nine companies named in the AMS motion (Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard).


[i] UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998, ISBN No. 92-9227-227-6, available at: Refworld | Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010)

[ii] UN Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), Israel’s Settlements Have no Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms, S/RES/2334 (23 December 2016), available from N1646389.pdf (un.org)

[iii] UN Security Council report, Implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), S/2021/584 (18 June 2021), available from https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N21/159/63/PDF/N2115963.pdf?OpenElement

[iv] Global Affairs Canada, Canadian policy on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 19 March 2019, available at: Canadian policy on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (international.gc.ca)

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