Columbia University Divest (feat. Naye Idriss & Sophie Edelhart)

Today, I’m presenting an episode of “News and Arts,” a show that I host on WKCR-FM, Columbia University’s student-run radio station.

On this show, I spoke with Naye Idriss (a junior at Columbia College) and Sophie Edelhart (a senior at Barnard College). Both are organizers with Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as advocates in the Columbia University Apartheid Divest campaign. We talked about their lives as student-activists, their demands from the University, and the various issues and concerns related to the struggle for Palestinian liberation at Columbia and worldwide.

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine (CSJP) is a group “organized on democratic principles to promote justice, human rights, liberation, and self-determination for the Palestinian people,” who “organize around the principles of the Palestinian Civil Society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel.”

Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) is a campaign launched by CSJP and Barnard/Columbia Jewish Voices for Peace, another student-group at Columbia. The two groups calls on Columbia University to “divest its stocks, funds, and endowment from companies that profit from the State of Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights through its ongoing system of settler colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid.”

The call for Columbia to divest is not unprecedented; in 1985 the University divested from South Africa and in 2015 the University divested from private prisons. Both came from the actions of student protestors.

In April of 2018, in a referendum from Barnard College’s Student Government Association (initiated by a presentation from CUAD), 64.3% of Barnard students voted in support of divestment. But, since 2016, when CUAD first began its petition, Columbia College’s Student Council (CCSC) has failed to pass a similar referendum each year it was presented. Most recently, after a CUAD presentation a few weeks ago, CCSC voted down the referendum with 20 voting against and 17 voting in favor.

Columbia University must recognize their involvement with an apartheid state. The time for Palestinian liberation is now.

A photo from a past Israeli Apartheid Week (the first week of April) on Columbia's campus, organized by CSJP.

A photo from a past Israeli Apartheid Week (the first week of April) on Columbia’s campus, organized by CSJP.

This show aired live on WKCR-FM on Thursday, March 28, 2019.