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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Letter to the Editor: HOWARD UNIVERSITY STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS CALL ON UNIVERSITY TO BAN COMPANIES COMPLICIT IN CRIMES OF ZIONISM FROM CAREER FAIRS

Student organizations urge Howard to exclude companies profiting from Israel’s war from upcoming career fairs.

Dear Howard University Center for Career and Professional Success, President Ben Vinson III and the Board of Trustees,

We, the undersigned student organizations at Howard University, are writing to urge the administration to omit companies profiting from Israel’s war on Gaza from the upcoming School of Business and All Majors Career Fairs on Feb. 27 and 28.  

Israel’s ongoing aggression against Palestinians has reached unprecedented levels. Since Oct. 7, more than 24,000 Palestinians have been killed, about 16,000 of whom were women or children. Recent investigations have concluded that the ratio of killings in Gaza is significantly higher than the average civilian toll in all the conflicts around the world from the second world war to the 1990s, in which civilians accounted for about half of the dead. 

An estimated 29,000 bombs dropped on the strip have targeted residential areas, mosques, hospitals and shopping malls and all civilian infrastructure has been damaged to an extent beyond repair. 

More recently, approximately 1.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced to Gaza’s southernmost region, Rafah, due to Israel’s relentless bombardment and ground invasions throughout a war that has now entered its fifth month.

As students striving to uphold principles of justice, equity and human rights, we cannot turn a blind eye to the immense civilian suffering, dispossession, and massive and systematic human rights violations of Palestinians being perpetrated by Israel. 

We recognize that the devastation unfolding is further exacerbated by companies that finance, provide technological capabilities and profit from the one-sided war in Gaza, many of which have been invited to participate in our career fairs. 

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We unequivocally oppose attempts by these companies to recruit Howard students – especially in the wake of the reality that Howard has yet to take a political stance on the current crisis acknowledging the repeated violations of human rights in Palestine. 

We understand that Israel’s systematic decimation and domination of Palestine are intimately linked to U.S imperialism, militarism and capitalist greed. 

We also contend that Howard’s partnership with the U.S Department of Defense to establish a University Affiliated Research Center for students to develop “autonomous technology” and war arms is yet another instance of Howard’s shameful allegiance to imperialism. This violent system perpetuates the Israeli settler state’s apartheid approach to its siege of Palestine.

Therefore, we demand that the following companies actively upholding these oppressive systems be barred from participating in the upcoming and all future career fairs organized by the university.

2024 All Majors Career Fair:

U.S. Department of State – A staunch supporter of the Israeli settler state since its inception in 1948, the department provides $3.3 billion annually for weapons used in the lethal and unlawful targeting of Palestinian civilians. The department claims they are “not seeing acts of genocide”  after South Africa launched genocide proceedings at the International Court of Justice over Israel’s military operation in Palestine.  

Additionally, they continue to provide unconditional military aid to Israel, despite remarks by their prime minister, Benjamin Netenatyu, explicitly stating he opposes Palestinian statehood.

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Institute for Defense Analyses- The institute works in direct alignment with federal institutions facilitating U.S. aid to Israel such as the Department of Defense, the Defense Management Institute and the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.

AECOM – AECOM designs and leads construction projects for prisons, police headquarters and Chicago’s $85 million “Cop Academy,” a training ground for police located in the middle of a predominantly poor, Black community with a long history of disinvestment and carceral violence.

2024 SOB Career Fair:

Bank of America – For decades, Bank of America financed private prison companies. Also, against massive opposition both locally and nationally, the bank is funding Atlanta’s “Cop City,” a police mega-development across 381 acres of the Weelaunee Forest, stolen Muscogee land. 

Also a component of Cop City is the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), in which Atlanta police train with the Israeli Occupation Forces to learn militarized police tactics to suppress marginalized communities.

Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin manufactures weapon systems that are routinely used in war crimes against Palestinian civilians and surveillance technologies that are used to monitor the U.S.–Mexico border.

Boeing Boeing manufactures weapon systems that are routinely used in war crimes against Palestinian civilians and was previously awarded a contract to build a high-tech virtual wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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IBM – According to the American Friends Service Committee, IBM runs the discriminatory Israeli population registry and provides AI technologies to the Israeli military, which they use to target and kill Palestinian civilians.

Dell – Dell provides digital technology to the Israeli military, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) and other security bodies, further exacerbating their discriminatory surveillance and targeting of Palestinians.

Goldman Sachs – The investment bank and financial services company is a financial supporter of Israel’s illegal settlements, including the notorious Hebron – known for their settlers’ extreme violence against Palestinian residents.

We want our institution, a Mecca of higher education of the African diaspora, to divest from the systems of oppression harming Black and Brown people worldwide, including in Palestine, starting by banning entities that finance, provide technological capabilities and invest in colonialism and war profiteering from our campus. 

We have faith that Howard University will decide to uphold its proclaimed commitment to “truth and service” by immediately barring the listed companies from our career fairs. The undersigned stand united in solidarity, endorsing the sentiments in this letter. The list of consignatories continues to grow.

Signed:

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HU Students for Justice in Palestine

Co-signed:

Howard University Chapter of the NAACP

Youth Justice Advocates

Howard Abolitionists

Howard University Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students

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Ubiquity 

Kwame Ture Society

CHANGÓ

Sterling Allen Brown English Society

Howard Players

Howard Halo G.R.E.EN. Garden Club

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Ujima First

Students for Socialism DMV

***CORRECTION: A previous version of this Letter to the Editor listed Peraton as an American national security company that supports Israel by managing Northup Grumman, a top weapons manufacturer. This is incorrect, as Peraton acquired Northup Grumman’s IT/mission support services, only a portion of Northup Grumman and not the part of the company that manufactures weapons.***

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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