Hampshire College in Amherest, MA was the first educational institution to divest from Apartheid South Africa. And now, thirty-five years later Hampshire has become the first educational institution to divest from Apartheid Israel. Activists at Hampshire College have been pushing for divestment for two years and their efforts are sure to kick off a wave of divestment movements across the world.
In a press release issued today by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the student group behind the divestment push, explain that their actions targeted six specific corporations who profit directly from the Israeli occupation:
"Our group pressured Hampshire College’s Board of Trustees to divest from six specific companies due to human rights concerns in occupied Palestine. Over 800 students, professors, and alumni have signed SJP’s "institutional statement" calling for the divestment.The six corporations, all of which provide the Israeli military with equipment and services in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza are: Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex. Furthermore, our policy prevents the reinvestment in any company involved in the illegal occupation."
Hampshire was first, who will be next? Is this the start of a nationwide divestment surge?
Update: Hampshire College administration is contradicting the reports of SJP. While Hampshire admits to divesting from the above mentioned six companies, they are claiming that this was not directly focused on Israel. The Boston Globe is carrying the administration's perspective (link). The whole story is likely to emerge in coming days.
Update #2: The response from SJP is posted below in the comments.
Micah M. White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. Micah is currently writing a book of philosophical meanderings into the future of activism. He lives in Binghamton, NY with his wife and two cats. www.micahmwhite.com