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Divest from Israeli Occupation!

Hampshire CollegeHampshire College becomes first college in U.S. to divest from Israeli Occupation! Spread the word that there is a Movement to Boycott Israel economically worldwide. Support is varied and comes from many different people. See Support Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel and in Colorado US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

31 thoughts on “Divest from Israeli Occupation!

  1. There may be more to the story. From The Boston Globe:

    …trustees concluded that the fund held stocks in more than 200 companies engaged in business practices that violated the college’s policy on “socially responsible investments.” These violations included unfair labor practices, environmental abuse, military weapons manufacturing, and unsafe workplace settings, trustees said…

    Sigmund Roos, chairman of the board of trustees, said in a phone interview that while the board reviewed the fund’s investments it never reviewed the group’s petition, which accuses Israel of implementing “apartheid policies” against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    “We never took it up,” he said. “Students know that.”

    Roos said he was disappointed that students had portrayed the board’s decision as a protest of Israeli policy…

  2. The brother of my friend has been one of the chief student organizers at Hampshire. Today, the administration is attempting to distance itself from the divestment and depoliticize the decision saying it was made “for a variety of reasons” and that it had “no regional or political significance.” In addition, college President Ralph Hexter (rhexter@hampshire.edu) has refused to condemn threatening statements made to campaign organizers by Alan Dershowitz.

    Two of the organizers’ websites:
    Students for Justice in Palestine – http://www.hsjp.org
    Mondoweiss – http://www.philipweiss.org

    As the student organizers say, it’s not a college, it’s a movement. Let’s support the students at Hampshire in whatever way we can and call for our own colleges, CC most notably, to divest their investment portfolios of companies profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestine — Iraq, Afghanistan, and others — as well.

    Props to you, visionary students! Press on!

  3. Don, you are spouting the company line, and we all know that the company, in this case the college, will lie to protect its bottom line.

    Here’s the students’ bottom line:
    “Even though the administration of our college has gotten cold feet, the divestment remains a victory. The bottom line is that before February 7th, we were invested in companies that directly profited off the illegal occupation of Palestine. Today, we are not. This is a result of direct pressure from SJP. However, we are glad that our anti-occupation movement helped us divest from other troublesome and problematic companies along the way.”

    End of story. It’s done. Blab all you want. It’s done. And will hopefully soon be done elsewhere.

  4. Ms. Walden,

    As you might note, I used the word “may” because I cannot completely rule out the possibility that the college is trying to put the best face on its decision for public relations purposes, namely to avoid politicizing its decision. Unfortunately, at least as far as I know, the minutes of its Board meeting have not been made public. The minutes would likely provide the College’s rationale for its decision.

  5. Don, I’m sure you know that most decisions are made outside the board. The board is there to vote on by-laws changes, hammer out a 10-year strategic plan, and rubber stamp the employee handbook. The real decisions are made over scotch and cigars, in private homes, so truth can easily be denied when circumstances call for a new tack.

    Alan Dershowitz has bullied the administration into a conciliatory stance by threatening to call for a boycott of Hampshire if they don’t kneel. For those who don’t remember, Dershowitz recently threatened an academic union in Britain (with 120,000 members — such hubris!) with financial “ruin” if they did not rescind their democratic decision to indirectly support academic boycott against Israeli universities. Why Douchewitz thinks he has such power is a question for the psychiatric community, but Hampshire is small and vulnerable and thus susceptible to pressure from rabid Zionists.

    And, Don, you can call me Marie 😉

  6. Ms. Walden,

    As I respect the generally open-mined approach your posted messages and blog pieces reveal, I’ll elaborate a little further on this issue.

    While I can understand the students’ approach–divestment was an appropriate response with respect to pressing South Africa to end apartheid–I believe it misses the point with respect to the historic Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is not as “black-and-white” as apartheid was. There is a lot of nuance. Both parties–Israelis and Palestinians alike–have legitimate rights, aspirations, and grievances. Ultimately, both of their core needs will need to be accommodated.

    Instead of divestment that ignores the complex character of the historic dispute, the focus should be placed on replacing an inherently flawed peace process with one that has a better chance at succeeding. The flaws of the present process include:

    1. A lack of mechanisms for tying each party’s performance to the performance of the other party.
    2. Unrealistically ambitious objectives that far exceed the parties’ capacity and willingness to achieve them in the near-term.
    3. The lack of concreteness in the terms of the agreements to avoid ambiguity that can leave an avenue for non-performance.
    4. The absence of an agreed mechanism for resolving disputes.
    5. The lack of focus on developing a gradual but steady framework that could achieve a new coexistence experience, begin to build trust, and provide a genuine path that leads toward a final settlement.

    The realities of the historic dispute, the absence of trust, the parties’ competing narratives, among other factors, rules out a rapid final settlement solution. Pursuing such a solution, deploying divestment to press for such an outcome, or calling for a rapid final settlement is counterproductive. It does the parties no favors to request or even demand that they achieve what is not feasible right now. New failures on account of an unrealistic approach, can only exacerbate the lack of trust and amplify the differences that presently divide the parties.

    During the 1970s, Secretary of State Kissinger understood the Middle East’s dynamics in resisting the pursuit of a comprehensive settlement and instead initiating a step-by-step approach between Israel and Egypt. Over time, the two countries developed sufficient trust to make further progress. Less than 6 years after the start of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Egypt and Israel had achieved peace, in large part on account of the caliber of leadership exercised by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, and the progress that was achieved under the framework Dr. Kissinger had initiated. IMO, that’s the approach that should be pursued between Israel and the Palestinians once a new Israeli government takes office. I don’t believe divestment will be helpful toward facilitating that kind of constructive peace process.

    Have a good evening.

  7. Don, Hampshire College does not need to fully understand Middle East dynamics to make the decision to divest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestine. That’s the beauty of it. Investment strategy can be simplified in a way that history cannot.

    I like to use a simple check list:
    1) Is the company in any way involved with genetic modification or corruption of the food supply? If yes, divest.
    2) Does the company foist dangerous drugs or other products on an unsuspecting public in order to increase company profits? If yes, divest.
    3) Does the company deny a living wage, equal rights, ability to unionize, or health benefits to its workforce? If yes, divest.
    4) Does the company operate without a zero-carbon-footprint strategy and profound respect for the natural environment? If yes, divest.
    5) Does the company profit by supplying goods or services that are knowingly used to wage war or otherwise infringe upon human rights anywhere on earth? If yes, divest.

  8. Marie,

    Every investor has the freedom to invest based on his/her/its (“its” refers to insitutional investors) objectives, values, etc. Furthermore, there is no requirement that his/her/its investment strategy needs to be aligned to any given external dynamics.

    You have articulated the values you consider important when it comes to your investment choices. Certainly, you have and should have the freedom to pursue a strategy that is consistent with your values.

  9. The pedantic teacher and the whore! A new team emerges from the Internet Megaphone spam panther division!

  10. Yes, Don, and so should Hampshire College have that investment freedom, right? And now, having been called either a pedant or a whore, I shall retreat to my safe place.

  11. Of course, Marie. I never suggested otherwise. However, I noted that the College’s investment decision might have stemmed from objectives other than divestment. Furthermore, while I believe a divestment strategy is not conducive to helping resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, I didn’t argue that the College should be deprived of its freedom to make such investment choices as it sees fit.

  12. I wonder if our Army Friend has outside interests… like, investments in industries which pander to the IDF.

    Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Ratheon … Colt Arms… all the people who make money from the Death of other PEOPLE…

    I knd of noticed that the vast majority of our “experts” whose only interest is that Israel get a fair hearing, meaning that EVERY forum on the Internet be filled with nothing but Positive comments about Israel and Negative Comments about those bad, wicked, Naughty Subhuman Terrorists like the children in Gaza who were mowed down by their murder machine.

    And forgetting that their Fellow ChickenHawks at Fox News and of course the Radio Cowards like Rush and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and “Gunny” Bob…are very well paid and apparently, not by advertising revenue, to put out the Anti-Semitic propaganda that Likud puts out and AIPAC puts out.

    small wonder that they, like Rush and Bush and Cheney, Rove and Wolfowicz, push for Lots and Lots of WAR, as long as they get to send somebody else to do it for them.

    Are ALL the AIPAC folks like you guys, you know, willing to send Other People to fight for YOUR money, because, ultimately, that’s what it comes down to…

    YOUR bloodstained Money.

    You even call it The Almighty, and worship it.

    I’ll bump my thread on that subject just so you can easily find it.

  13. Persecution of White Christian Males.

    Yeah, Don, I can see why some won’t divest their money from the Killing Machine, either your Killing Machine in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the Israeli Killing Machine either.

    Your “almighty” Dollar is far more precious to people such as you than such things as “right and wrong”.

    What was it Jesus said, if you’re not going to serve God then at least make Really Good Friends with mammon.

    Get what you can in this life because you’re selling any hope of anything after.

    Do you ever listen to your conscience?

    I know you’ve joined in with people who throw around the Name of God rather promiscuously in order to justify their thefts… and their Murders…

    Israel and their Wealthy Masters need a cleansed Palestine, with either no Palestinians or merely those who will bow and Worship at the feet of the Washington-Tel Aviv Empire.

    Your money perish with you, for you have no part in these matters.

  14. Marie, I was referring to ‘Denise’ and ‘Don’…. as the whore and the pedantic teacher from the Zionist machine.

  15. Tom Friedman has won three Pulitzer Prize Awards for journalistic excellence, including a Pulitzer for Commentary “for his clarity of vision, based on extensive reporting, in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat.” I don’t know if there is an equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize for bloggng, but, if there is, you should definitely submit your work for consideraton. 🙂

  16. Well I called you a whore and now you call me a Tom Friedman of blogging. I guess we’re now even? I am so flattered though….

    Denise, glad to see you here sharing good laughter together.

  17. The article is from 2002 which makes it irrelevant to the current discussion. Besides, Friedman – no doubt an accomplished writer – makes the tired argument that it’s unfair to single out Israel for sanction when everyone in the Middle East is bad, which sounds oddly like the argument my children when they get in trouble.

    But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction — out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East — is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.

    Yawn.

  18. Marie naiively said–“Even though the administration of our college has gotten cold feet, the divestment remains a victory.”

    Actually, a hollow victory, at best. The effect of the boycott on Israel is de minimis. Your time would be better spent hitting the books.

  19. Denise, I didn’t say that, the students did on the SJP website. And the victory isn’t hollow, which is why Alan Dershowitz is tossing around lawyerly threats. Yes, Hampshire is a small college, but what happens when his own Harvard University, and many others, follow suit?

    The dollars may be small, but the message isn’t.

  20. Interesting you mention Harvard as former president Lawrence Summers, now a senior economic advisor in the Obama administration, characterized previous attempts at boycotting Israel at Harvard as anti-Semitic. Thomas Friedman echoes Summers’ position. When you single out one nation for boycott at a time when the Chinese government is performing forced abortions on women and Russia controls the media, when human rights are absent in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Libya, Syria, Sudan, and when other brutal dictatorships around the world routinely murder civilians, torture and imprison dissenters, deny educational opportunities to women, imprison gays and repress speech, that is anti-Semitism. Marie, you didn’t answer the question posed to you earlier: When you condemn Israeli “occupation”, what territories do you consider occupied?

  21. Marie said–“The article is from 2002 which makes it irrelevant to the current discussion”

    Sadly, Friedman’s column about campus hypocrisy in singling out Israel while rampant oppression exists around the world is more relevant than ever. Examples Friedman cites have not changed, unfortunately…

    Thomas Friedman says–“How is it that Egypt imprisons the leading democracy advocate in the Arab world, after a phony trial, and not a single student group in America calls for divestiture from Egypt? (I’m not calling for it, but the silence is telling.) How is it that Syria occupies Lebanon for 25 years, chokes the life out of its democracy, and not a single student group calls for divestiture from Syria? How is it that Saudi Arabia denies its women the most basic human rights, and bans any other religion from being practiced publicly on its soil, and not a single student group calls for divestiture from Saudi Arabia? ”

    Thomas Friedman says–“Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction — out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East — is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.

  22. Thomas Friedman was a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. If the International Criminal Court is given access to the Neocons, Friedman will hang. Who else you got?

  23. And Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act calling for regime change, which had overwhelmingly support in Congress…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Liberation_Act

    As for Thomas Friedman being a cheerleader for the Iraq war, it would be more precise to state he was an early supporter of the war who came to be a vocal critic of the war. Then again, far-Left writer Christopher Hitchens remains steadfast in his support for the war in Iraq.

  24. I guess our Non-Warrior Monger might miss this in the other comment,

    So I’ll put it in this one too…

    My my my…

    Another one with the SAME ISP as several previous Trolls…

    What A Surprise!

    Say, Eric, on the ARIN webpage, there’s a link to his ISP, happens to be Verizon…

    And a link about “abuse”.

    Say, ChickenHawk Mitch/David/Denise whatever the hell your real name and or sex is, you are a Putrid little coward bitch.

    Is Mummy and Daddy paying for your internet?

    Are your mom and dad ChickenShit War-promoters but not actually Warrior Freaks just like you?

  25. You post falsified and libeous statements that you attribute to Ariel Sharon, you post incendiary, anti-American statements and make threatening remarks about former Vice President Cheney, and, you’re accusing others of abuse???

  26. Never threatened Cheney.

    That’s a figment of your Multi-personality imagination.

    Being Anti-Bush or Anti-Likud isn’t the same as being Anti-American.

    Your heroes in the Bush Former Administration and his torture-freak comrades like Sharon and Netanyahu defame the names of Israel, America, Judaism, Christianity and God by attaching your Blasphemous Murderous Hatred to those names.

    It’s the ultimate in “taking the name of God in VAIN”.

    Perhaps if your readings of Scripture and/or Rabbinic Traditions were more up-to-date you would realize that.

    A personal relationship with your faith, whatever that faith is, would also help.

    While all faiths have Perverted ministers of the basic teachings of those faiths, they also have a code of conduct that forbids lying, theft and murder.

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