Academic Union in Wisconsin Vote For Divestment
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Academic Union in Wisconsin Vote For Divestment

The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP) has passed a resolution calling on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to divest from companies involved in supplying the Occupation Forces with the tools, resources and materials used in the colonization of the Palestinian people and the brutal occupation which they endure.

TAUWP represents faculty and academic staff from 25 University of Wisconsin campuses. The resolution was passed at the TAUWP delegate assembly on April 23rd by a vote of 24 to 2, with four abstentions.

Based on the role the University of Wisconsin had in divesting from apartheid South Africa, the resolution called for divestment from major companies such as Caterpillar, Boeing, General Electric and Lockheed Martin amongst others. These companies are directly involved in sustaining Apartheid Israel with vital weapons and technologies.

The University of Wisconsin Trust Fund’s investments in the companies specified by the resolution exceed $3.8 Million. Holdings in these companies were cited as contrary to the principles of the University of Wisconsin’s code of socially responsible investment. This requires the Board to divest from companies whose corporate practices or policies are immoral and unethical

Caterpillar Corporation – one of the companies identified in the resolution – has become the subject of a broader global divestment movement over the last year due to its role in providing the Occupation Forces with deadly and destructive bulldozers. They play a crucial role in the unrelenting construction of the Apartheid Wall throughout the West Bank.

The divestment measure comes hot on the heels of a wealth of boycott, sanctions and divestment initiatives which have emerged from civil society organizations over the last year. While the Occupation continues to impose its system of apartheid on the Palestinian people – sealed by the Wall and the network of Jewish-only bypass roads, military and security zones – global solidarity networks are realizing the most effective means of supporting the Palestinian struggle is to isolate Apartheid Israel.

Divestment initiatives are ongoing at over 20 American universities. Other campaigns include the resolution from The Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from companies aiding the occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands. Earlier this year, the World Council of Churches recommended that its 347 member churches and denominations follow the example of the PCUSA. Other churches such as the Anglican Church, United Methodist Church, and United Church of Christ are currently considering divesting their investment portfolios from companies with links to Israel. Several US-based labor unions, and organizations such as the National Lawyers Guild, have also endorsed divestment from Israel. Last week, the Association of University Teachers, the UK’s largest lecturer’s union, voted to boycott two Israeli universities. The AUT are now considering the boycott of the remaining 6 universities in Apartheid Israel.

The University of Wisconsin Divestment from Israel Campaign is now moving to introduce similar resolutions to other university and community institutions throughout the state.