University of Wisconsin Faculty Call for Israel Divestment
February 1, 2005
The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville adopted a resolution last week demanding that the University divest from companies that provide the Israeli Army with weapons, equipment, and supporting systems.
The resolution urges the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to eliminate investments in Caterpillar, General Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon from the University’s Trust Fund “based on evidence of the active role these companies play in enabling Israeli Forces to engage in practices that violate international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people.”
The resolution, adopted at the regular meeting on January 25th, is part of the University of Wisconsin Divestment From Israel Campaign (http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu), led by Al-Awda Wisconsin (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition) and Alternative Palestinian Agenda in partnership with several local social justice, student, and community organizations.
The Faculty Senate cited reports by independent international, Palestinian, and Israeli Human Rights organizations that document widespread human rights violations against Palestinian civilians. These abuses are in many cases perpetrated using items produced by the companies identified in the resolution. The resolution also pointed out that these investments violate the University’s Trust and Fund Policy on socially responsible investment.
The University of Wisconsin Regents Trust and Fund Policies provide that divestment ought to be carried out in cases where ‘any company, corporation, subsidiary or affiliate…practices or condones through its actions discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, creed or sex…’ or cases where “corporate policies or practices … cause substantial social injury.”
Caterpillar Corporation provides the Israeli Army with the D-9 bulldozer and other equipment used to carry out widespread and systemic house demolitions, acts which have been classified by the UN Commission on Human Rights as war crimes. Caterpillar’s equipment is also used to uproot olive trees, destroy infrastructure, and to build Israel’s separation wall which has been deemed by the International Court of Justice to be a violation of International Law and the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people. Other companies provide fighter jets (Lockheed Martin), aircraft engines (General Electric), and missiles (Raytheon) often used to bomb targets in civilian areas and commit other human rights abuses. Investments in the companies specified by the resolution exceed $2.8 Million.
The University of Wisconsin Divestment from Israel Campaign plans to introduce similar resolutions to other university and community institutions.