Brooklyn For Peace Opposes the Cornell Technion Partnership

Brooklyn For Peace Opposes the Cornell Technion Partnership.

Here’s Why: (Cornell Technion Partnership BFP statement, PDF):

Brooklyn For Peace supports the campaign against the partnership between Cornell and The Technion for a new applied science and engineering facility on Roosevelt Island. This campus will be a major part of the military-industrial complex in the US and Israel. The Technion is complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and attacks and siege on Gaza. This includes numerous violations of international law and human rights, including the deliberate targeting of civilians and supporting an apartheid system within Israel. The $100 million in taxpayer money that Bloomberg is turning over to this enterprise should be spent on urgent social needs like low-income housing, smaller class size, day care spaces, senior centers, and jobs.

Brooklyn For Peace would be happy to see a first-rank engineering and applied science school in New York (without ties to the military). But given the Technion’s past history of engaging in research concerning drones, and given the Obama Administration’s determination to expand worldwide the nature and scope of drone warfare, it seems highly likely that this institution will be involved with further research into drone use. This will increase the already substantial likelihood that drones will soon be produced in New York City, and very possibly used here as well. This school’s drone research will likely not just make the rest of the world less safe, but will endanger the personal security of all New Yorkers.

The Technion, which trains its engineering students to work with companies dealing “directly in the development of complex weapons” as part of their academic work, has provided the Israeli state with the technology for the elaborate mechanism of control of the Palestinian population. This includes working with Israeli weapons and security giant Elbit Systems in the construction and monitoring system for the Israeli separation wall, annexing enormous amounts of Palestinian land and control over Palestinians’ daily movements. The separation wall has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice. Through its subsidiary, Kollman, Elbit constructed and monitors the wall along the US-Mexico border.

Elbit also developed the unmanned “Black Thunder” D-9 bulldozer, with its predecessors an essential weapon in Israel’s demolitions of tens of thousands of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, uprooting of olive groves, and destruction of tunnels used for commerce in Gaza.

The Technion has also developed technology for the weaponized aerial robotic drones used by Brazilian, US, and now Mexican air forces. Drone attacks have been used against civilian populations in Yemen, Pakistan, and Gaza, with disastrous results. Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel’s use of drones for targeted killings. Amnesty International has called for a suspension of UK arms sales to Israel because of these drones. Norwegian, Danish and Swedish pension funds have divested from Elbit. US drones are also used on the Mexican border in the war on drugs and undocumented immigrants.

The Technion has also developed an MBA program tailed specifically for managers of the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, one of Israel’s largest government-sponsored weapons manufacturers, famous for its rockets and unmanned aircraft and armor systems used in tanks in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

New York City should avoid complicity in these ongoing crimes, as well as in the unjust treatment of Palestinian citizens in Israeli society and academia. NYC taxpayers become unwitting participants in asymmetrical robotic warfare, targeting humans to be liquidated by remote control without any due process. New York should be identified as a scientific, cultural and artistic hub, with industries and institutions that benefit the broader society, rather than as a center of R&D for surveillance, military, and colonial enterprises.

For all these reasons, Brooklyn For Peace supports the campaign of New Yorkers Against Cornell-Technion to stop this partnership and call the attention of New Yorkers to this ugly project.

For more information, and dates of protest actions, visit New Yorkers Against Cornell Technion.