Letter to the editor: Lockheed Martin

  Dear editor, What do Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Boeing all have in common? They provide advanced weaponry and services to the Israeli military that help sustain the illegal occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem … and they all have the University of Vermont as a shareholder.  Since 1967, Israel has occupied and colonized Palestinian land and neighborhoods. As I write this, Israel is destroying the homes of Palestinian families and building Israeli settlements in their place. These actions are explicitly forbidden by the 4th Geneva Convention and have been condemned by the U.N. The occupation is made possible because of the weapons and services provided by corporations like the ones mentioned above. Let’s take a moment to look at how these companies profit from oppression. In 2008, Israel unleashed Operation Cast Lead on the people of Gaza, a vicious assault that was, according to the U.N. fact-finding mission, “a deliberately disproportionate attack, designed to punish, humiliate, and terrorize a civilian population.” The F-15 jets, Apache helicopters and guided air-to-surface weapons used in the assault were all provided by Boeing.  In addition, Raytheon has been kind enough to supply Israel with Patriot, Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles, which have been used against Palestinian residential areas and refugee camps. Lockheed Martin — the single biggest overseas supplier of military hardware to Israel — has provided Israel with MK-4 battle tanks, F-16 bombers and the Hellfire missile system, all of which have been used against Palestinians. The use of American weapons on civilians is a clear violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act. However, these corporations, along with Congress, have been more than willing to look the other way. But just because they put profits before people does not mean that we should do the same. UVM claims to aspire to the values of integrity, justice and responsibility, but you wouldn’t guess that by looking at their investment portfolio. The Socially Responsible Investment Working Group is currently considering a proposal to have UVM divest from companies that directly profit from the occupation of Palestine. This proposal, like the people in Palestine, deserves our support. Sincerely, Nolan Rampy UVM Graduate Student