What is divestment and why are students and supporters asking their universities to divest?

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I hear the word “divestment” a lot in the news but I fail to understand what it means and how is it important in the conversation of recent events.

In: Economics

3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s the opposite of invest or like uninvest. Apparently lots of universities deal with Israel in one way or another. For the protestors, financially dealing with Israel is in part supporting the current war in Israel/Palestine.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Its part of BDS – standing for Boycott, Divest, Sanction.

its the name and also core demand of a political movement on the political left. They identify as anti-imperial, meaning that to them the source of all/most conflict and problems in e.g. the middle east can be traced to The West and its bad influence over centuries of conquest, imperial control and profiteering.

This is take to a sometimes radical degree, when they demand people stop affiliating with Israel over multiple degrees, e.g. Boycott a local McDonalds, because it also has franchises in Israel.

With universities it often takes the form of non-cooperation in research, not sharing results or partaking in transnational studies (e.g. a study on obesity in 30 countries, with every university performing trials in their home nation). Sadly, sometimes it ends in weakest-link attacks, e.g. threats agains israeli academics teaching abroad or attacks against jewish schools, because someone ther must be Israeli or habe family there.

BDS ist often seen as a large umbrella for antisemism, offering plausible deniability and funding.

Anonymous 0 Comments

When universities receive big donations, they dont always spend it sometimes they save it an pay for things from the interest earned from by investing that money in different interest bearing accounts. Sometimes it’s things like bonds, sometimes it’s in stocks of publicly traded companies. Among these publicly traded companies are military industrial companies like Raytheon who make money selling weapons to Israel, which Israel uses to bomb civilians. (before Israel it was Saudi Arabia). There’s also several publicly traded Israeli companies the schools may have stocks/own shares in. 

Students want universities to take the money invested in such companies, and move it to other companies that are doing less terrible things in the moment. The selling of stock in large quantities would put some financial pressures on these companies. It’s really more of an optics play, but college students in the US really can’t do anything else about a US Ally committing genocide, especially when a majority of Americans do support Israel in one way or another. With public poling moving against the genocide in Israel, Biden has a bit more leeway to more openly pressure Israel to end the genocide. 

All of this most recently started back in August. Bibi, the Israeli prime Minister pushed through some reforms that basically gave him control of the Israeli Supreme Court. In protest a lot of officers resigned from the IDF. Meanwhile Israel was going to side a deal with Saudi Arabia for the two nations to be on more friendly terms to oppose Iran. With IDF leadership and Israeli leadership in the midst of a lot of upheavals, they ignored a warning if imminent attack from Hamas, a vaguely Muslim death cult currently “in charge of Gaza”. They attacked, with indirect funding from Iran, in part to get Israel to over respond to blow up the Saudi deal. Hamas then hid behind civilians. Bibi for his part realized how unpopular he is and a major attack during his tenure would render him vulnerable and maybe even audit able. So Bibi is artificially extended this war, where it’s become a genocide, in order to secure his continued regressive leadership.