Thursday, May 31, 2007
A Call for Divestment!
by Steven Plaut
Prof. Haifa Univ.
We thought you would be interested in the following document, uncovered by
archeologists in Britain. It is a statement that was issued by the Union
of British University Lecturers in the year 1938, and was endoxrsed by the
civil servants union of Canada, by the Presbyterian Church, and by a host
of progressive Jewish professors.
In the interests of history scholarship and accuracy, we reprint the
document here in full:
A Call for Divestment in Czechoslovakia
From the Union of British University Lecturers February 12, 1938
Dear Learned Comrades:
The Union of British University Lecturers is calling upon lovers of
justice and peace throughout the world to boycott all official
institutions of Czechoslovakia and especially the Czechoslovak
universities. While we have tried other forms of persuasion, the racist
regime in Czechoslovakia continues to abuse the human rights of the
country.s ethnic Germans, denying the Sudeten Germans their right to
As was declared by our representatives to the recent goodwill conference
held in Berlin, sent there to express out friendship and understanding for
the Reich.s peace proposals, we must unambiguously denounce the racist
apartheid regime that has long been operating in Czechoslovakia. The
Czechoslovak colonialists are illegally occupying the lands of the Sudeten
Germans. This occupation must end.
In recent months the Sudeten victims of Bohemian occupation have launched
a protest movement, which we fully endorse. Regretfully, some the victims
of occupation have also engaged in terrorist activities directed against
the Czechoslovak apartheid regime. We believe that blame for this should
not be assigned to the victims of racism, the Sudetens, and understand the
desperation that underlies these Sudeten German operations. Indeed, we
urge peace-loving states and churches around the world to join the
authorities in Berlin in providing funding to the political groups now
operating among the Sudetens and representing them.
Recently, the main political group speaking on behalf of the Sudetens has
been the Sudeten-German Party (SdP), headed by Konrad Henlein. While some
in the world are justifying the Czechoslovak decision not to conduct
negotiations with the SdP because of its openly nazi orientation, we
demand that Czechoslovakia open immediate talks with it. After all, the
SdP enjoys the popular support of the bulk of the Sudeten population and
refusal to conduct negotiations with it is anti-democratic. And besides,
who are the Czechs to dictate which party and leaders should represent the
Oppressed people unfortunately often are forced into use of violence. And
in this case, the Sudetens were victimized by Czechoslovak state terrorism
and racism for well over a generation.
So what if Czechoslovakia has free and open elections, freedom of speech,
and other manifestations of liberal democracy? We consider Czechoslovakia
to be a phony democracy, with false freedoms existing only on paper, so
long as the Sudeten Germans are second-class citizens. That is why we
cooperate with the anti-apartheid groups and movements operating within
the Third Reich, which are heralding the struggle against Czechoslovak
oppression of Germans.
Sure, the Czechoslovak political leaders have offered to consider some
forms of local autonomy for the Sudetens. But these offers are humiliating
and amount to little more than the creation of German Bantustans for the
Sudetens, who would continue to suffer from Czechoslovakian domination.
Why should the Sudetens be denied complete self-determination and the
control of their own state and army? Why are Sudetens any less entitled to
statehood than Czechs and Slovakians? So what if the German Reich already
controls most of Central Europe? That should not preclude the rights of
the Sudetens to have their own state? Czechoslovakian universities must be
boycotted because of their collaboration with the racist regime in Prague!
The universities continue to discriminate against Germans by conducting
their classes in Czech, and by refusing to allow swastika banners to be
hoisted on campus. We have also received reports that there were attempts
in one university to expel a pro-German professor, although those attempts
failed. Another university conducts courses in a satellite campus located
inside occupied Sudetenland!
Accordingly, we believe that researchers and scholars at Czechoslovakian
universities need to be taught a firm lesson. This can only be
accomplished using the same divestment tactics that were so successfully
utilized in other struggles, such as against the Italian conquest of
Part of the statement for divestment includes this: .Czechoslovakia
continues to grab the lands of the Sudeten people for ever-expanding
Bohemian settlements, building Czechoslovakian-only roadways, and the
construction of a giant wall and fence that is confiscating a significant
portion of the Sudeten land. 83% of the Sudetenland water has been taken
for Czechoslovakian use, leaving Sudetens with desperate water shortages.
Czechoslovakia has destroyed the homes of more than 28,000 Sudetens in
four and a half years. Hundreds of thousands of ancient fir trees and vast
tracts of agricultural land have also been destroyed..
The Union of British University Lecturers has also voted for and hereby
demands the divesting of funds from all companies that support the
Czechoslovak occupation of the Sudeten Territories. Our resolution
contains statements of action:
- That a committee be convened in the conference to create and maintain a
list of companies that support in a significant way the Czechoslovak
occupation of Sudeten territories. The list will be delivered to all
university associations, conference churches and conference investment
- We call upon Czechoslovakia, as well as the U.S. government, Britain,
the government of Poland, and the newly-elected Sudeten leadership to
respect all people and find solutions based on international law and human
- We affirm the right of Sudeten Germans to freedom of movement in all
lands, and believe that Prague should be declared an open city for people
of all faiths and creeds.
Peace can yet be achieved. Boycott Czechoslovakia Now!
WHAT occupied territories?
Had your breakfast already? Don't look at this: