[News] Hampshire College, first in US to divest from Israel

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Thu Feb 12 20:31:19 EST 2009



Hampshire College, first in US to divest from Israel

http://www.imemc.org/article/58872

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  Friday February 13, 2009 03:25
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 by Press release, Students for Justice in Palestine - Press release 
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Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, has become the first of 
any college or university in the US to divest from companies on the 
grounds of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine

divest_isr.jpeg


This landmark move is a direct result of a two-year intensive 
campaign by the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine 
(SJP). The group pressured Hampshire College's Board of Trustees to 
divest from six specific companies due to human rights concerns in 
occupied Palestine. More than 800 students, professors and alumni 
have signed SJP's "institutional statement" calling for the divestment.

The proposal put forth by SJP was approved on Saturday, 7 February 
2009 by the Board. By divesting from these companies, SJP believes 
that Hampshire has distanced itself from complicity in the illegal 
occupation and war crimes of Israel.

Meeting minutes from a committee of Hampshire's Board of Trustees 
confirm that "President Hexter acknowledged that it was the good work 
of SJP that brought this issue to the attention of the committee." 
This groundbreaking decision follows in Hampshire's history of being 
the first college in the country to divest from apartheid South 
Africa 32 years ago, a decision based on similar human rights 
concerns. This divestment was also a direct result of student pressure.

The divestment has so far been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, 
Rashid Khalidi, Vice President of the EU Parliament Luisa 
Morganitini, Cynthia McKinney, former member of the African National 
Congress Ronnie Kasrils, Mustafa Barghouti, Israeli historian Ilan 
Pappe, John Berger, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Roger 
Waters of Pink Floyd, among others.

The six corporations, all of which provide the Israeli military with 
equipment and services in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are: 
Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, 
Motorola and Terex. Furthermore, our policy prevents the reinvestment 
in any company involved in the illegal occupation.

SJP is responding to a call from Palestinian civil society for 
boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a way of bringing 
nonviolent pressure to bear on the state of Israel to end its 
violations of international law. SJP is following in the footsteps of 
many noted groups and institutions such as the National Association 
of Teachers in Further and Higher Education in the UK, the Israeli 
group Gush Shalom, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the 
Canadian Union of Public Employees and the American Friends Service Committee.

As well as voicing our opposition to the illegal occupation and the 
consistent human rights violations of the Palestinian people, we as 
members of an institute of higher education see it as our moral 
responsibility to express our solidarity with Palestinian students 
whose access to education is severely inhibited by the Israeli occupation.

SJP has proven that student groups can organize, rally and pressure 
their schools to divest from the illegal occupation. The group hopes 
that this decision will pave the way for other institutions of higher 
learning in the US to take similar stands.




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