Students across the world on Wednesday held demonstrations on campus, calling on their universities to withdraw their investments in companies complicit in Israeli war crimes and apartheid.
Protests were held at over 70 universities, with students also sending letters to their vice-chancellors as part of the initiative, which was organized by the UK-based Friends of Al-Aqsa, a nonprofit concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
Using the hashtag #Divest4Palestine on social media, students called on their universities to boycott investments in companies including Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, HP, and Booking.com.
“Rolls-Royce and BAE produce the weapons used to attack Palestinians living under blockade in Gaza, and HP provides the technology used at Israel’s checkpoints,” the organizers said. “Booking.com advertises accommodation in illegal Israeli settlements, on land stolen from Palestinians.”
Sima, at Warwick University in the UK, said: “As students at Warwick, we’re appalled that money from this campus goes into sustaining an apartheid state,” and called on the vice-chancellor to “divest from these companies without hesitation.”
Manal, at Nottingham, said: “How can our vice-chancellor think it’s acceptable to invest money in companies involved in war crimes? There’s a lot of talk about ‘decolonizing,’ but we need to see some actual change if this is really going to happen.”
Shamiul Joarder, FOA head of public affairs, said: “The government is currently trying to suppress our freedom to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS), but the #Divest4Palestine campaign shows that students and academics, along with the rest of the British public, are increasingly showing that they’ve got no tolerance for complicity in Israeli war crimes and apartheid.”
The initiative was part of the International Day of Action, which also saw 25 prominent academics sign an open letter to universities worldwide to #Divest4Palestine in the run-up to Wednesday.
The open letter was coordinated by the FOA and a coalition of UK university student societies. It was also signed by the Palestinian activist Mohammed El-Kurd.
Source: Arab News