More than thirty British universities witnessed on Monday (29) a campaign to withdraw academic investment from the ongoing Israeli apartheid regime in occupied Palestine.
In celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Friends of Al-Aqsa NGO organized a National Day of Academic Solidarity.
Activists have launched a campaign urging students to write to their deans to demand the cancellation of deals with companies notorious for complicity in the occupation – such as Rolls-Royce, Hewlett Packard (HP), BAE Systems and Booking.com.
Referring to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report that concluded the crime of apartheid, university students in London, Nottingham, Birmingham, Plymouth, Glasgow and other cities called for an end to agreements with companies linked to abuse.
“Rolls-Royce manufactures parts for the F-35 fighters that Israel uses to attack Gaza. Hewlett-Packard is providing technology for checkpoint systems, in violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the British NGO noted.
Ismail Patel, director of Friends of Al-Aqsa, emphasized that “disinvestment is an important non-violent mechanism to pressure the company to re-evaluate its policy.”
“When a university withdraws its investment, there is a strong message to the private sector that the academic community does not approve of its actions,” he added. “Students have tremendous power in their hands to hold institutions to account.”
Hannah, a Queen Mary alumna said: “As students, we deny the complicity of our institutions in human rights abuses. We do not pay tuition fees to invest in apartheid. We ask the parsonage to act immediately.”
According to Friends of Al-Aqsa, British universities now hold 450 million pounds ($598.7 million) in investments “related to Israel’s apartheid regime”.
In 2020, the University of Manchester canceled deals worth more than 10 million pounds ($13 million) with companies linked to the occupation of Palestine, after years and years of struggle by human rights organizations.
Among the affected companies is Caterpillar Tractor Company, which supplies the Israeli army with equipment to demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank.
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