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Students Expose Hypocrisy Of Universities’ Investment Policies

Khadijah Ali

Image Source - Pixabay Free Content.

Student protests across campuses in the US (145 universities and colleges so far) and elsewhere have breached the wall of hypocrisy about investments in companies supporting Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. They are demanding that their institutions disclose all investments in companies profiting from Israel’s war.

Further, that universities must divest from companies—whether in the US, Israel or elsewhere—and support the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. In response to the students’ principled demands, some universities have announced that they would divest from companies that supply weapons to the Israeli war-machine.

Led by Evergreen College in Olympia (Washington state), several other universities and colleges have also agreed to divest. The Olympia-based college is the alma mater of Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in March 2003.

She was trying to prevent the demolition of Palestinian houses in Rafah, southern Gaza, when the Israeli bulldozer deliberately ran over her, crushing her frail body, killing her. We will consider the reaction of regimes in Tel Aviv and Washington to Ms. Corrie’s murder shortly, but let us first identify the institutions that have agreed to hold dialogue with students over divestment.

These include seven campuses of the University of California (UC) at various locations including Sacramento State University and Riverside. On the US East Coast, Brown University, Rutgers University, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern agreed to discuss their investment processes with students. Similar hearings have been held at the University of Minnesota.

Some universities, including Rutgers have even agreed to provide scholarships to Palestinian students both at the postgraduate and undergraduate levels. While the level of disengagement from weapons manufacturers varies, some openings have been made.

The level of commitment, and whether universities will fulfill their promises varies for each institution. There is, however, definite progress from the day when students first established an encampment at Columbia University on April 17. Far from engaging in dialogue with students and faculty, Columbia president Nemat Manouche Shafik reacted violently.

She unleashed the brutal New York police force on students and faculty. With guns drawn and using an armoured vehicle, they attacked students occupying Hamilton Hall, that they had renamed “Hind’s Hall” after the six-year-old Hind Rajab. The Palestinian child was murdered alongside her family by the Israeli army in Gaza. For hours, Hind was left to bleed as Israeli snipers fired on ambulances trying to reach her.

The brutal police assault on Columbia students, however, backfired. It led to protests and encampments at other universities across the US and even in Canada, Europe and Australia. Students also regrouped in Columbia.

The biggest slap was delivered by the School Union Theological Seminary (UTS), an affiliate college of Columbia. It announced on May 9 that it will fully divest from all companies profiting from Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. Its endowment is worth $127 million.

There was more bad news for Columbia. Nearly 2000 of its alumni in the US have vowed to stop all financial and academic contributions to the university unless it meets the students’ demands, especially the demand to cut ties with Israel.

Several academic institutions in Europe have taken similar steps. Trinity College Dublin, Free University in Brussels and Barcelona University in Spain have all announced that they will divest from companies profiting from Israel’s war.

Students at many universities in Britain have also established encampments. These include Warwick University, University College London (UCL), Oxford University and Cambridge University.

More than 1700 staff and alumni of Cambridge have written to the university administration pointing out their hypocrisy. The university divested from Russian companies soon after Russian troops invaded Ukraine but it is not willing to even discuss the students’ demand for divestment from Israel.

The tide, however, is turning. Students have vowed not to give up until their demands are met.

Student protests are nothing new. The current protests are patterned on the anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s. Then too, protesting students were brutally attacked. At Kent State University, four students were shot and killed on May 4, 1970 when the Ohio National Guards were called in. This occurred in the aftermath of America expanding its bombing campaign into Cambodia as well.

Students are idealists. They want to see in practice what they are taught at school, college or university: question established dogma and stand up for truth and justice. They do not easily accept deviation from principles. This is what is happening at university campuses globally today.

It would be reasonable to assume that calls for a ceasefire in Gaza would receive broad support. That those profiting from the killing of innocents would be shunned as pariahs. Theoretically yes, but in practice, this is not the case.

The scale of death and destruction in Gaza is horrendous. All schools, colleges and universities have been deliberately targeted and destroyed by the genocidal zionists. At graduation ceremonies in US universities, students have pointed out that there is no students class of 2024 in Gaza. Further, that 14,000 children brutally murdered by the zionists will never walk to their graduation, ever!

While screaming “anti-semitism” each time Israeli crimes are mentioned, this zionist ruse is wearing thin. It is seen as an attempt to stifle criticism of Israel and its war crimes. People are no longer taken in by this nonsensical allegation. After all, Jewish students are an integral part of the protests and encampments.

Pro-Israeli Jewish students have complained that they feel “uncomfortable” and “intimidated” by anti-Israel chants. They have demanded that the encampments be disbanded, using force if necessary. They have felt no discomfort at the cold-blooded murder of more nearly 36,000 Palestinian civilians including 15,000 children in Gaza.

There is no evidence that pro-Palestinian students have attacked any pro-Israeli Jewish students. There is ample evidence of masked zionist thugs attacking peaceful student protests. This happened in Los Angeles. At UCLA, the pro-apartheid organization ‘Stand With Us’ crowdfunded tens of thousands of dollars to bus zionist agitators to campus. They attacked peaceful student protesters while the LA police stood and watched.

There is a long history of zionist attacks on American citizens without facing any opprobrium.

On June 8, 1967, Israeli warplanes attacked the USS Liberty for almost two hours as the American ship monitored Israel’s war on Egypt, Syria and Jordan. Israel murdered 34 sailors and injured another 171 despite the ship being clearly marked to show its US identity (For details read Kevin Barrett’s story in this edition).

The US did not take any action over the murder of its own servicemen because the perpetrators were Israelis. Nor did it take any action over the deliberate murder of Rachel Corrie that the Israeli regime dismissed as “accidental”. The Israeli supreme court exonerated the driver of the bulldozer.

The story of Shireen Abu Akleh, an American citizen and working as journalist for Al Jazeera, is equally painful. She was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper outside Jenin refugee camp on May 11, 2023. She was wearing a vest clearly marked with the word, “Press”. That did not deter the zionists from killing her.

Imagine if American citizens were murdered by another country. The US would not only have invaded the country but bombed it back to the Stone Age. Zionist Israel, however, is exempt from normal behaviour.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 54, No. 4

Dhu al-Qa'dah 24, 14452024-06-01

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