Students protest General Dynamics in Bloomington

General Dynamics protest in Bloomington

Shae Ross, student at Jefferson High School

Emily Chu, engineering student at University of Minnesota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY CLINT COMBS

On March 16 in Bloomington, activists in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza called for a permanent cease-fire, for schools and universities to divest from Israeli defense, and for a permanent closure of the defense manufacturer General Dynamics.
“There is nothing productive about General Dynamics in Bloomington,” said Shae Ross, a senior at Jefferson High School. “There is nothing productive about defense spending or weapon manufacturing in America.”
Activists are calling for a complete divestment from companies who support Israel through commercial contracts, academic and intellectual resources.
Emily Chu, a biomedical engineering major at the University of Minnesota and member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), called for the university to cut business and academic ties to the defense contractor. “Divestment means not just pulling monetary resources from Israel but human resources as well,” Chu said. “I know that I didn’t slog away for hours each week on my coursework just so that I can use that knowledge to hurt people.”
The university not only welcomes General Dynamics recruiters to their biannual college of science and engineering career fairs, but also allows them to regularly host career workshops and other individual recruiting events, alongside companies like Lockheed Martin, specifically targeting engineering students.
As a report from UNRWA noted: “This war affected more than two million people – the entire population of Gaza. Many will carry lifelong scars, both physical and psychological. The vast majority, including children, are deeply traumatized.” The publication added, “Israel’s weaponization of food to punish the Palestinian people is not a secret. It was declared months ago, in October 2023 by the highest-ranking Israeli government and military officials, some of whom publicly stated that such policies would hasten the decline of humanitarian conditions and provoke a mass exodus from Gaza or a so-called ‘voluntary migration’ of this ‘demographic threat.’”
Chu said, “We have the resources that these companies desire and we need to starve them of those resources the same way that our government has chosen to starve the people of Gaza.” Chu is a university student, while Ross is in high school, with a five-year age difference between them. Both Chu and Ross feel it’s not enough to just call for a cease-fire. Both argue that it is a civic and moral obligation to push back against companies that also provide intellectual and lethal support for Israel. “It is our duty as young people to continue to take a stand against these vile war profiteers who come into our cities and leech off our money,” said Ross.

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