(This article is published in Mondoweiss.)
A commissioner for the city of Berkeley, California was fired for supporting a resolution calling on the city to consider divesting from corporations that operate in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.
Cheryl Davila served on the Human Welfare and Community Action Commission (HWCAC) for over seven years, where she oversaw numerous human rights resolutions. In the summer of 2014, Commissioner Davila recalled being awestruck at the violence of Israel’s war on Gaza, code-named Operation Protective Edge, in which over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, the majority of whom were civilians, including more than 500 children.
“The Israeli bombardment was a disgraceful human rights violation that has caused a severe social welfare crisis, particularly for children, women, and the elderly in Gaza,” Commissioner Davila said. Numerous human rights groups and the UN accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians and committing war crimes. “Given that Berkeley was one of the first municipalities to pass an anti-apartheid resolution in support of South African human rights, it is time for Berkeley to do the same for Palestinians who are living under an Apartheid regime,” she explained. “We cannot be silent any longer.”
The city of Berkeley has already approved ethical investment policies that call for divestment from fossil fuel corporations, gun manufacturers, tobacco companies, “oppressive states,” and the nuclear industry.
Commissioner Davila decided to propose a measure on behalf of Palestinian human rights. She authored the resolution “Conflict in Israel’s Impact on the City of Berkeley.” The measure calls for the city to “examine the feasibility of divesting all City of Berkeley direct holdings in companies complicit in on-going violations of human rights and International Law under Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories.”