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What does divesting from Israel really mean?

image of protest signs from george washington university gaza solidarity encampment

Vox, May 2024

A core demand at the heart of the protests over the war in Gaza currently roiling college campuses across the US and around the world: that universities divest from Israel. That means withdrawing funds their endowments have invested in companies that are linked to Israel.

Their demands have revived a long-running debate about whether universities should even consider ethics in their investment decisions and whether there is an ethical approach to divestment from Israel, or if these institutions should simply maximize returns. There is also a question of whether these divestment demands, which have been criticized by some pundits as overly broad, are feasible to meet or will even be effective.

Their demands come as the Palestinian death toll (now over 34,000 people) only keeps rising and as full-blown famine breaks out in northern Gaza, with the rest of the territory remaining at risk. The US Student Movement for Palestinian Liberation released a statement April 21 indicative of what the protests are broadly calling for; it asked universities to “completely divest our tuition dollars from — and to cut all institutional ties to — the zionist entity as well as all companies complicit in the colonization of Palestine.”

Read more at Vox.

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