Campus Divestment vs. Israeli Apartheid

Can movements like The Swarthmore Campaign end the apartheid in Israel?

A Divestment from Israel campaign has been launched by alumni at Swarthmore College

The massacre in Gaza has prompted many people to actively boycott Israeli products. The effects of the consumer boycott are already being felt by Israeli farmers who are now complaining that their produce is rotting in warehouses because of canceled orders. And in London, The Swarthmore Campaign, the first divestment campaign to be formed after the invasion of Gaza. Within three days we have already gathered over 60 signatures with more coming in every hour. The positive response demonstrates that the moment is ripe for divestment campaigns to sweep universities across the world. As we saw with the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, divestment is an effective tool to bringing about peace.

Two aspects make The Swarthmore Campaign different from previous divestment campaigns. First, we are an alumni organization which makes our structure durable and less susceptible to pressure from the school's administration. And second, signatories to The Swarthmore Campaign open letter are not just asking our alma mater to divest -- we are threatening to withhold donations until divestment occurs. For in the midst of an economic collapse, most educational institutions are in desperate need of donations from their alumni, which provides activists with a bargaining tool for peace.

Organizers of The Swarthmore Campaign hope that divestment campaigns will spread to campuses across the world bringing an end to the Israeli apartheid.

Does your campus have a Divestment campaign? Is divestment a more effective strategy than boycotting?


Update on January 21: This blog post was edited to more clearly state that my wife and I aided in the foundation of The Swarthmore Campaign and continue to publicly support its efforts.

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.