Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD)

"The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever [they are], as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era." - Ghassan Kanafani

Columbia University Apartheid Divest is a coalition of student organizations that see Palestine as the vanguard for our collective liberation. We are a continuation of the Vietnam anti-war movement and the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa. We support freedom and justice for the Palestinian people, and for all people. We know that true collective safety will arise when everyone has access to clean air, clean water, food, housing, education, healthcare, freedom of movement, and dignity.

Israel is bombing hospitals, schools, and homes while cutting off food, water, medicine, and electricity to the more than two million Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are children. Over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel's bombs and thousands more are expected to be killed via starvation and dehydration. The brutal onslaught over the last month is but another chapter in over 75 years of violence, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people - funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars, and further enabled by financial investments made by institutions like Columbia University.

As students across the country rise up to defend Palestinian lives, campus administrations like ours are trying to silence our voices. They underestimate our resolve. We will not rest until Columbia divests from apartheid Israel, Palestinians are free, and liberation is achieved for all oppressed people worldwide.

The CUAD Coalition initially formed in 2016 and passed a Columbia College-wide referendum in 2020 in favor of divestment that former University President Lee Bollinger overturned. Our coalition was reactivated in October 2023 in response to the overwhelming support for Palestinian freedom from students on Columbia's campus. We are further moved to action by the ostensibly politically-motivated suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.

As a coalition, our chief goal is to challenge the settler-colonial violence that Israel perpetrates with the support of the United States and its allies. We have previously refused to focus on concerns pertaining to free speech, academic freedom, and student safety on campus, as they distract from Israel's actively committing genocide and ethnic cleansing. However, the University's weaponization of policy to silence students enables the atrocities that Israel has subjected Palestinians to for decades - atrocities that began when Zionist militias violently forced over 700,000 Palestinians, 75 percent of the population, out of their homes in 1948, and which have continuously escalated with virtual impunity since.

The Zionist project is reaching its apex as Israel continues to violate international law by indiscriminately bombing civilians and cutting off their access to food, water, medicine, and fuel. According to reports from the World Health Organization, during the time we spend writing this, a Palestinian child is killed every 10 minutes. These attacks are explicitly connected to Israel's attempt to annex and ethnically cleanse more Palestinian land of its indigenous population. As such, it is imperative that we act now. If we wait, there may not be a Gaza left to defend.

We cannot take action to stop further atrocities if individuals and authoritative bodies at the University distort and stifle our message. The Columbia administration's negligence severely compromises the safety of students, and threatens our ability to advocate for this issue. The Columbia administration has set a dangerous precedent by erasing the Palestinian struggle through one-sided decisions and emails that threaten and suppress the voices of students who support justice for Palestine, enabling a violent, repressive environment that puts Palestinian students, as well as all their Arab, Muslim, Jewish, and BIPOC peers, at risk through surveillance and policing.

We know that antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism - in particular racism against Arabs and Palestinians - are all cut from the same cloth: Western colonization, imperialism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness. Silencing Jewish voices for Palestine is arguably antisemitic: it conflates Judaism with Zionism and imposes an external definition on an entire group's religion and culture. The University ignores, misreports, and twists the reality of the brutality unfolding in Gaza while erasing Jewish voices from the Palestinian liberation movement.

Truth and justice are on our side. Our power is in the collective. We keep us safe. Our only solution is to keep speaking out. The more Columbia attempts to silence us, the louder we will be.


Columbia University Apartheid Divest is a coalition of student organizations working toward achieving a liberated Palestine and the end of Israeli apartheid by urging Columbia to divest all economic and academic stakes in Israel. We seek an end to all interlocking systems of oppression through collective action and solidarity with oppressed people worldwide.


We envision a free Palestine. We necessarily envision an entire world free from colonialism and imperialism, and from all the interrelated systems of oppression that uphold them.


We believe in liberation. All systems of oppression are interlinked: The fates of the peoples of Palestine, Kurdistan, Sudan, Congo, Armenia, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Korea, Guam, Haiti, Hawai'i, Kashmir, Cuba, Turtle Island, and other colonized bodies are interconnected.

We are committed to creating a multi-generational, intersectional, and accessible space dedicated to fighting for abolition, transnational feminism, anticapitalism, and decolonization, and also to combating anti-Blackness, queerphobia, Islamophobia, and antisemitism.

We keep each other safe. We do not believe that prisons, police, profit over people, militarism, war, colonialism, or imperialism will keep us safe. We reject the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency's weaponizing of the United States' racist immigration laws to prevent our international comrades and peers from speaking up. We reject the violence of the Israel Defense Forces-trained, police-industrial complex that chokes our communities and disproportionately enacts brutality against people of color. We believe that true, collective safety will only arise when we divest from death-making institutions and invest in life-affirming institutions - when everyone has access to clean air, clean water, food, housing, education, healthcare, freedom of movement, and dignity. There can be no exceptions.

We believe in the right of self-determination, Land Back, and the Right of Return, from Palestine to Turtle Island.

We believe in solidarity and the power of relationship building. We believe in collectivity. We commit to actively refuting elitism and hierarchy in our work. We are part of a movement - of a larger collective.

We are not reactionary, but proactive. We are, in the words of Mary Hooks, "willing and ready to be transformed in service of the work."


The Columbia University Apartheid Divest demands Columbia University immediately divest all economic and academic stakes in Israeli apartheid in accordance with the results of the 2020 student body referendum. Furthermore, we demand that the University:

1. Call on President Biden, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, and all other government officials to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, in line with the demands of the majority of Americans.

2. Divest from companies profiting from Israeli apartheid, noting that both former Columbia and Barnard presidents unilaterally and anti-democratically ignored the student body referendums to divest in 2020 and in 2018.

3. Cancel the opening of the Tel Aviv Global Center, noting that Palestinian affiliates of Columbia would be restricted from access to this program given Israel's apartheid policies, and further noting that this, therefore, violates Columbia's very own non-discrimination policy.

4. Cease the dual-degree partnership with Tel Aviv University, for the same reason.

5. Stop repressing and vilifying pro-Palestinian activism and vigorously protect the academic freedom and right to political speech of students, staff, and faculty as they face McCarthyite smear campaigns. Accordingly, the University must change policy so that protests and events can be sanctioned within three days to allow students to organize under urgent circumstances, such as the current Palestinian genocide.

6. Reinstate Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, and issue an official apology for their unjust suspension in violation of University procedure.

As Nelson Mandela said, "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."


Students for Justice in Palestine

Jewish Voice for Peace

Black Student Organization

Student Workers of Columbia

DAR - Palestine Students Union

Sunrise Columbia

SSA Somali Student Association

CSER SAB Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race Student Advisory Board

YDSA Young Democratic Socialists of America

Columbia Queer and Asian

Asian American Alliance

CQA: Columbia Queer Alliance

African Students Association

BCAC Barnard Columbia Abolitionist Collective

HEP Housing Equity Project

AAPI Interboard

VP&S Muslim Students Association

White Coats 4 Black Lives

Global Learning Exchange

CU Afghan Student Alliance

Graduate Muslim Student Association

Columbia Social Workers for Palestine

Poetry Slam

Proud Colors

Student Worker Solidarity

Law School Coalition for a Free Palestine

SIPA Palestine Working Group

VSA Columbia Vietnamese Students Association

Columbia Law Students for Palestine

Columbia National Lawyers Guild

Muslim Students Association

African Studies Working Group

Caribbean Students Association

BOSS Barnard Organization of Soul and Solidarity


Turath: CU Arab students Association

HOME Columbia Humanitarian Organization for Migration and Emergencies

Reproductive Justice Collective

Third Wheel Improv

Barnard Columbia Urban Review



Club Bangla

Columbia Mixed Heritage Society

Columbia Chicanx Caucus

VP&S Black and Latinx Student Organization

Columbia Middle Eastern Law Association

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