FOA PRESS RELEASE

November 29, 2021 /

DEMANDS TO DIVEST FROM ISRAELI APARTHEID ON OVER 35 UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES

On 29th November, universities across the country faced calls from students to divest from Israeli apartheid. Coinciding with the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, a National Day of Solidarity on Campus was organised by pro-Palestinian NGO FOA, who have launched a campaign for students to write to their Vice Chancellors demanding that they divest from companies complicit in the oppression of Palestinians.

Citing the Human Rights Watch report on Israel’s apartheid system, students at LSE, Nottingham, Birmingham, Plymouth, Glasgow and others demanded that their institutions withdraw investment from companies complicit in human rights abuses in occupied Palestine, particularly Rolls-Royce PLC, Hewlett Packard (HP), BAE Systems and Booking.com. Rolls-Royce manufactures parts of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters used by Israel to attack civilians in Gaza, and HP provides the technology for the control systems in Israel’s checkpoints, which violate Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ismail Patel, Chair of FOA, has stated that “divestment (the withdrawal of investment) is an important, non-violent method to pressure a company to change its ways. When a university withdraws investment, it sends a powerful message to that company that the university community does not approve of its actions. Students have a huge amount of power here to hold their institutions responsible.”

Hannaa, studying English and History at Queen Mary University says “as students, we find our institution’s complicity in human rights abuses appalling. We do not pay our tuition fees for the university to invest in companies complicit in apartheid. We call on the Vice Chancellor to take immediate action”.

With UK universities currently holding investments of £450m complicit in Israeli apartheid, it is hoped that yesterday’s campaign will encourage more universities to follow in Manchester’s footsteps, where a successful divestment campaign in 2020 led to the university divesting nearly £2m from complicit companies.

Contact: SHAMIUL JOARDER, shamiul@foa.org.uk