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Divestment-from-Israel campaigns first came to prominence on university campuses, with anti-Israel activists at Harvard, Yale, Duke and a number of other prominent institutions asking their schools to remove companies doing business with the Jewish state from endowment and retirement portfolios. The tactics of the movement were developed on campus:
  • " Framing the debate exclusively as one of human rights for Palestinians without once mentioning the Arab terrorist onslaught against Israel in the last four years
  • " Characterizing a schools investment in Israel, Israeli companies or US companies doing business with Israel as representing the school "taking sides" in the Arab-Israeli conflict and describing divestment as a way to "level the playing field"
  • " Attempting to proclaim this new front on the war with Israel as the heir of the anti-Apartheid movement on college campuses in the 1980s
Tactics developed on college campuses became a template for similar activities in cities, towns and other institutions.

While petition drives generated a great deal of publicity and put divestment on the media map, not a single school has agreed to divest from Israel and at most schools (including Harvard) divestment was out-petitioned by more than ten to one. At Harvard, president Lawrence Summers went beyond merely questioning the fairness of such motions, but pointing out the ugliness and potential anti-Semitism of anti-Israel activities. Rutgers banned a divest-from-Israel conference from their campus for similar reasons.

If this insidious movement comes to your school, you need to communicate that divestment has been exposed as a tool for propaganda, designed to continue the Middle East conflict, not a human rights issue or method of "peace advocacy." Let students, faculty and administrators know that divestment has failed in campus after campus, including all of the most progressive schools in the country, because students, teachers and leaders could see this fraudulent movement for what it was.
The following articles can be useful if you are battling similar movements at your school:
Observations - The Intifada Comes to Duke
By Eric Adler and Jack Langer - Duke University Students
Boycott Watch to Duke University: Don't Host Palestinian Hate Fest That Promotes Illegal Boycotts.
Boycott Watch to Duke University: Do You Stand With Us, Or The Terrorists?
Background: Divest-from-Israel Campaigns Violates the Federal Antiboycott Law
© 2005 Divestment Watch