End Rutgers' complicity with apartheid policies

Pepsi allocations seem to be a small detail to consider when a club or organization on campus is figuring out its funding for the semester. Our University makes it very clear that reimbursements are not allowed for any beverages unless they are Pepsi products.

It is such a small detail, yet the University is adamant we stick to it. On a superficial level, it is a weird infringement of freedom of choice. On a more serious note, it is problematic for those of us who wish to be conscious consumers.

As an executive board member of Students for Justice in Palestine, my fellow board members and I decided to finally refuse to use Pepsi products for our Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions kickoff on Sept. 10. BDS is a campaign, inspired by a similar one in the 1980s against apartheid in South Africa, which pressures Israel economically and calls for the end of its apartheid regime and occupation of Palestine.

In addition to being responsible for approximately 2,000 Palestinian deaths  — mostly civilians — this past summer, the Israeli government has consistently appropriated land, murdered Palestinians of all ages and humiliated the Palestinian people through unnecessary checkpoints, imprisonment without trials and more than 50 discriminatory laws. PepsiCo, unfortunately, is one of many companies that actively support Israel and its continued violations of human rights.

We urge all Rutgers students and organizations to join us in our boycott. No company should have a monopoly at our University, let alone a company that supports systematic racial discrimination and oppression. Our University may wish to be complicit, but our students do not have to be. For more information on how to end your complicity, please join Students for Justice in Palestine for our general body meetings every other Monday, (including today, Sept. 22), or find us on Facebook or Twitter. 

Syjil Ashraf is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and human resource management with a minor in political science. She is a founding executive board member of the Rutgers New Brunswick chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.executive member of Students for Justice in Palestine. 

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