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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 20, 2002

Statement on Anti-Israel Divestment Movements and Counter-Movements

I think that the anti-Israel craze going on at some American universities is in part the work of young people who would under other circumstances be shouting against America's war on terrorism . But that is such a losing issue that instead they have turn their attention to the Palestinian cause. Thus far there has not been one school that has disinvested, and I doubt we are likely to see this take place.
Campus Watch has issued the following statement regarding Anti-Israel Divestment Movements and Counter-Movements

Several campus campaigns have recently emerged intending to pressure university administrations to divest from Israeli companies or companies that do business with Israel. A counter-movement of anti-divestment activism has followed suit.

Those in favor of divestment argue that the political situation in the State of Israel is equitable to South Africa's historical Apartheid, which provoked a partially successful divestment movement among universities during the late 1970's and early 1980's.

According to the United Nation's International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid:

"Apartheid consists of a set of state policies that meet the following criteria: (a) "Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups the right to liberty of person." (b) "Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or part." (c) "Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country -- in particular denying of members of a racial group basic human rights and freedoms." (d) "Any measures -- designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos -- [including] the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group."

Says Campus Watch managing editor, Jonathan Calt Harris, "It is clear that Israel, which offers its Arab citizens participation in the government, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and other rights only afforded by democracy, cannot be placed under this rubric."

Though we see the importance of dealing with the divestment movement, as its mission statement explains, Campus Watch focuses on Middle East studies. Accordingly, Campus Watch will monitor and engage Middle East specialists who join in this brand of activism. However, direct involvement in divestment campaigns and other Israel-related campus activism fall outside of our scope.