Students join call of people of conscience around the world to divest from corporations that profit from Israeli occupation

Students from colleges and universities around the United States have joined AFSC and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in sending a video message to one of the largest financial services companies in the United States: divest from corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation.

A three minute video produced by AFSC and JVP features college students on US campuses holding signs that calls on TIAA-CREF to end its investments in corporations that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Some of these corporations include Veolia, Hewlett-Packard, and Caterpillar that often provide services or products on US campuses, but also help to entrench the system of inequality and military occupation in Israel and Palestine.

Students in the West Bank and Jerusalem also contributed to the video with footage of themselves holding signs at checkpoints, the separation wall, and settlements, making the connection between these human rights violations and corporate investments.

The video is a first student collaborative project of the We Divest campaign, a national effort by people of conscience who support Palestinians and Israelis who are engaged in nonviolent resistance to the occupation. Over 20,000 people have signed the petition to TIAA-CREF on the web, wedivest.org. The petition states:

Out of commitment to equality, freedom and international law, we therefore urgently request TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that:

  • Directly profit from or contribute to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
  • Provide products or services that contribute to the construction and maintenance of Israeli settlements and/or the Separation Wall, both of which are illegal under international law.
  • Provide products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts that target civilians.
  • TIAA-CREF establish investment criteria to exclude any such companies in the future.

AFSC has been working with students in the We Divest campaign since a leadership training session was held at the beginning of the academic year in Chicago. This summer AFSC will be co-organizing a week-long summer institute for college students interested in divestment campaigns on their campuses.