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February 15, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-15

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 15, 2005


ale l[irl i Fm ttil

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


We have clearly
told the Europeans
to tell the
Americans not to
play with fire."
-Iranian spokesman Hamid Reza
Asefi, referring to U.S. pressure on Iran
to dismantle its nuclear energy pro-
gram, as reported yesterday by Reuters.

- f





Why divestment is wrong

ince I began my
work as a colum-
nist for the Daily,
<>.>I've intentionally avoid-
ed the subject of divest-
ment from Israel. For
whatever reason, naive-
to or optimism perhaps,
I assumed that this was
a passing fad that would
fizzle out long before my time at the Uni-
versity expired.
But here I am, in my last semester as an
undergrad, and still divestment is an issue
- a subject broached every now and again
by the pro-Palestinian lobby on this cam-
pus to catch the eye and push for University
action. For the unacquainted, "divestment,"
at least this most recent incarnation of
it, suggests that the University, in keep-
ing with its goals as an institution, should
divest from companies that provide mili-
tary assistance to Israel.
This January, the University of Wiscon-
sin at Plattville took the first step in that
direction, when its Faculty Senate voted to
make it the first faculty governing board
in the nation to call for divestment from
Perhaps emboldened by the victory, a
viewpoint ran yesterday on this very page,
similarly pushing for divestment. Like the
proposal at UW-Plattville, the authors, two
officers of the pro-Palestinian group Stu-
dents Allied for Freedom and Equality,
contend that the University should divest
the roughly $11 million it has invested
in companies that sell arms to the Israeli
government - companies like Raytheon,
General Electric, Lockheed Martin and
General Dynamics, among others.

Divestment is as rare as it is radical -
so rare in fact that the University has only
done it twice, once in 2000 with tobacco
manufacturers and the other in 1978 in pro-
test of South African apartheid.
With that in mind, divestment propo-
nents, if they are to be successful, must
make.the case that Israeli actions, and the
complicity of these corporations in those
actions, have been unique enough to justify
divestment. Problem is - they haven't.
The companies that they have targeted
make, among other things, weapons for use
both by the United States and for export.
Lockheed Martin makes F-16 fighter air-
craft. Raytheon makes military electron-
ics and missiles. General Dynamics makes
components and weapons systems for air-
craft, as well as whole weapons systems
like Atlas ICBMs and Abrams tanks.
Divestment proponents can quite easily
point out a number of cases in which these
products were used to do a great deal of
harm to the Palestinian people, often in
violation of international human rights
norms. F-16s and Apaches and Abrams
tanks are all part of a significant Israeli
military advantage that makes possible
continued occupation.
Fundamentally, however, this poten-
tial for great evil makes them no. dif-
ferent from any other weapon, and their
manufacturers no different from any other
weapons manufacturer. For better or for
worse, these guys are in the gun business,'
and their products will be abused. But that
doesn't mean we don't need weapons and
the companies to manufacture them. How
many went after Lockheed when, in 1995,
F-16s were used to help stem the slaughter
in Bosnia? Where were the calls for divest-

ment in 1991, when Abrams tanks formed
the spearhead of the ground offensive that
liberated Kuwait? It also doesn't mean
that Israel doesn't need quality weapons.
In both 1967 and 1973, its survival against
Arab aggression hinged on the availabil-
ity of U.S. arms.
More importantly, Israel isn't the only
nation guilty of the brutal application of
U.S.-made weapons. From Indonesia's
brutal suppression of East Timorean inde-
pendence with U.S. M-16s, to Saddam's
repression of the Iraqi Kurds, to the United
State's own spotty record with its home-
made toys, there are countless examples in
which United States made weapons have
been misused. In fact, I'd safely posit that
among the client states that have used U.S.
arms in combat, none can claim that those
they entrusted with the weapons have acted
entirely within legal or moral limits.
So, if the proponents of divestment are
really serious in their moral outrage -
truly disgusted with the thought of a Uni-
versity contributing to the oppression of
people by force - they should be calling
for universal divestment from any com-
pany that makes any weapon or weapon
component, not just Israel and its suppli-
ers. Otherwise, if there is nothing about
Israeli action separating its from the body
of nations that have oppressed, abused or
massacred with U.S.-made weapons, then
why target Israel for divestment?
Should"we be offended by the occupa-
tion? Absolutely.
Should we divest from Israel? Absolutely

Adams can be reached
at dnadams@umich.edu.


Daily's Arthur Miller
issue a great aCieveme nt
I am writing to commend the Daily Staff
that worked to put out the Arthur Miller issue.
I knew Miller was an alum, but thought of
the information as more of a selling point for
the University and not necessarily relevant to
Miller's development as a playwright. But your
articles, specifically the article concerning
Miller's pursuit of a Hopwood Award, showed
that the University played an integral role in
his genesis as a writer, and that Ann Arbor
was, and still remains, a University open to
and supportive of creative writing.
Bryan Kelly
LSA Freshman
Editor's Note: The Arthur Miller edition has
been reprinted, and can be found in Section B of
Divestent a misguiceda
solution for the Middle East

selling military equipment to Israel would
posses no gain to the Palestinian people.
Weakening the Israeli army would not halt
the Israeli fight against terrorism, for it
is the latter that should be weakened and
eliminated. Although Students Allied for
Freedom and Equality condemns terrorism,
it is unclear why it's targeting the army that
fights against it. Occupation of the territo-
ries is not the intention of the Israeli people.
One of the most prominent right-wing poli-
ticians, Ariel Sharon, is leading the cam-
paign for change.
During the past weeks, there has been tre-
mendous progress in the efforts for peace in
the Middle East - without divestment ini-
tiatives. Israeli officials have been meeting
with Palestinian officials on a daily basis,
hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are going
to be released as a sign of good faith, Israel
is going to withdraw its forces from numer-
ous West Bank cities and to top it all off,
both leaders have publicly declared a cease-
After four years of suffering on both sides,
there is finally a horizon for peace. We think
SAFE should emphasize its commitment for
freedom and equality for all people in the
region, instead of trying to harm Israel. If
the Palestinian kids are SAFE's main con-
cern, they should support the peace process

more adaniantly than divestment, as
divesting would only hinder the process
and let terrorists, who's sole purpose
is to explode in coffee shops and hide
behind innocent children, roam free.
Support peace. Oppose divestment!
Or Shotan
LSA freshman
Chair, Israeli Students Organization
Orrin Pail
LSA sophomore
Vice chair, Israeli Students Organization
Philip Azachi
LSA sophomore
Vice chair, Israeli Students Organization

We would like
divestment really
Divestment from

to comment on What
means, (02/14/2005).
American companies

Animal rights in perspective


The two questions I'm most commonly
asked when people find out I help run the Stu-
dent Animal Legal Defense Fund at the Law
School are: First, what is animal law; and sec-
ond, why should we care about animal welfare
when there are so many people suffering in the
world? As a way to introduce the forthcoming
lecture at the University by renowned animal
lawyer and author Steven Wise tomorrow (7

individuals, and judges are becoming increas-
ingly harsh in meting out punishment to animal
abusers. Furthermore, as society continues to
scorn the mistreatment of companion animals,
letters to newspapers, prosecutors and judges
escalate and the issue receives more atten-
tion. But animal law is much, much broader
than the prosecution of companion animal
abuse. Stop to think for a moment about every
aspect of your life that involves animals. We
wear them, eat them, adore them, fear them,

leads to better environmental conditions, and
ensures the presence of endangered species
for future generations to observe and enjoy.
Furthermore, psychological studies have
conclusively linked abuse toward animals
with abuse toward humans. Almost all serial
murderers and perpetrators of school shoot-
ings have brutal acts toward animals in their
childhood histories. Domestic abusers fre-
quently hurt, or threaten to hurt, the family
pet as a way of maintaining power over the
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