- MADISON, WI -- The University of Wisconsin Divest
from Israel Campaign organized students, faculty and community members
from around the State of Wisconsin to attend the Annual Trust Fund Investment
Forum with the University's Board of Regents. This forum provides the public
with an opportunity to air their concerns about investments in corporations
implicated in discrimination and violations of basic human rights and international
law. The room was filled to capacity as close to a 100 people came to speak
in support of Divestment from Israel and re-investment in socially responsible
companies in Wisconsin and around the United States. Israelis, Palestinians,
Americans, and people from a diverse range of ethnic, national, and religious
backgrounds came forward to speak in favor of the campaign.
- Speaker after speaker told the Regents that divestment
was both a moral imperative and sanctioned by UW's own ethical investment
policies. UW Investment policy 78-1, states that all investments `made
in any company, corporation, subsidiary or affiliate which practices or
condones through its actions discrimination on the basis of race religion,
color, creed or sex. . . .' shall be divested in as prudent but rapid a
manner as possible. Supporters of the campaign pointed out that any corporation
that does business with and/or in the State of Israel stands in violation
of investment policy 78-1 because the State of Israel practices widespread,
systematic, and institutionalized discrimination against persons of non-Jewish
descent living under its control, irrespective of whether or not they are
citizens of the state.
- It was pointed out that these policies amounted to a
regime of ethnic separation without self-determination for the oppressed
group, that is, a system of apartheid similar in kind to that imposed on
the black population of South Africa prior to de-colonization.
- UW investment policy 97-1 also stipulates that the Board
of Regents will seriously re-consider investments in companies implicated
in practices that `violate, subvert, or frustrate the enforcement of rules
of domestic or international law intended to protect individuals and/or
groups against deprivation of health, safety, basic freedoms or human rights.'
Companies such as Boeing, Caterpillar, General Dynamics, General Electric,
Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon are particularly culpable
since they provide weapons and supporting systems that allow the Israeli
Army and security services to implement state policies that cause substantial
social injury to the Palestinian people, particularly Palestinians living
in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Palestinians in these areas have suffered both human
rights abuses and war crimes that include the demolition of over 12,000
civilian homes since 1967, wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure,
institutions, and farmland, expropriation of Palestinian land and important
natural resources such as water, the imposition of closures and curfews
that prevent Palestinians - including children and the elderly - from accessing
healthcare, basic education, jobs, and all the other services that sustain
- Although Israel's apartheid wall has been ruled illegal
by the International Court of Justice, it continues to be built deep into
West Bank territory, denying Palestinians access to their own communities,
institutions and services. Along with the system of segregated roads in
the West Bank, the wall is the most visible manifestation of Israel's apartheid
policies towards the Palestinian people.
- The University of Wisconsin Divest from Israel Campaign
(<http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu>http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu) was founded
by Al-Awda Wisconsin (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition) and Alternative
Palestinian Agenda and is now a coalition comprised of several local and
statewide student and community based social justice organizations. The
campaign gained significant momentum when the Faculty Senate of the University
of Wisconsin-Platteville passed a resolution in favor of divestment on
January 25th 2005. The Platteville Senate is the highest academic body
in the United States to have adopted a resolution calling for divestment
from companies providing material aid to the Israeli army. The Teaching
Assistant's Association, the nation's oldest and largest teaching assistant's
union also passed a resolution calling for divestment from companies identified
by the UW Divest from Israel Campaign. The Association of University of
Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP) soon followed suit and adopted a divestment
resolution by an overwhelming majority of 24-2. TAUWP is the largest faculty
and staff union in the University of Wisconsin System.
- The University of Wisconsin Divest from Israel campaign
believes that in so far as the effort to divest has as its foundation a
commitment to international law and the fundamental rights that belong
to every human being, it lays the groundwork for a just and enduring peace
and is therefore an expression of the hope for a free and secure future
for every Israeli and Palestinian currently suffering under the burden
of conflict. The campaign called on the Regents to keep this in mind and
to immediately discharge their obligation to implement UW's investment
policies, and in so doing, to follow the precedent set by the University
of Wisconsin's elimination of investments in apartheid era South Africa.
- The Campaign also informed the Regents that it will continue
to build institutional and public momentum until divestment is achieved
and the University's money is re-invested in the local economy and in sustainable,
humane, and socially responsible business ventures in the U.S. and abroad.
- University of Wisconsin Divest from Israel Campaign
- Visit us at: <http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu/>http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu/
- Mohammed Abed
- Department of Philosophy University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Office 5112, Helen C. White Hall 600 North Park Street
- e-mail: mkabed @ wisc.edu
- "The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that
their country was `given' by a foreign power to another people for the
creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands
of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict
their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure
this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees
have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial
of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere
in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their country; how
can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which
nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees
in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement
in the Middle East".
- "Message from Bertrand Russell to the International
Conference of Parlimentarians in Cairo, February 1970." Reprinted
in The New York Times, Feb. 23, 197
- From: "Liat Weingart, JVP"
- Reply-To: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com
- Subject: Support Divesting from the Abuse of Palestinian
- Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 15:34:51 -0600 (CST)
- Show Your Support for Divestment from the Abuse of Palestinian
- There is a landmark struggle taking place between students
and the regents of the University of Wisconsin over whether or not to divest
from companies supplying the Israeli military with weapons and equipment
used to perpetrate human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians. The
University of Wisconsin-Plattville and the Association of University of
Wisconsin Professionals, the largest university union, have already passed
resolutions calling for the university to take the necessary steps to stop
its complicity in human rights abuses.
- However, because the university receives 1/3 of its funding
from the Caterpillar Corporation, the regents of the university are not
favoring taking necessary steps to put pressure on corporations like Caterpillar
to stop abusive practices that harm civilians in the Middle East.
- You can help. The University Board of Regents will meet
with students this coming Thursday to hear student concerns about the university's
complicity in human rights violations. People are needed to urgently make
phone calls and send emails to the regents, and tell the company to divest
from corporations that are profiting from the abusing Palestinian human
- Please call David Walsh, the President of the Board of
Regents, at 608-258-4269
- The University of Wisconsin Divest from Israel Campaign
needs your support.
- On Thursday November 10th members of the University of
Wisconsin community and student body will meet with University Board of
Regents at the Annual Trust Funds Investment Forum. This meeting is an
opportunity for our campaign to let the Board of Regents know that students,
faculty and community members stand opposed to the University's continued
investment in companies that support Israel's ongoing violation of Palestinian
- Please call the Board of Regents and let them know that
- divestment at the University of Wisconsin. There are
- and a phone script pasted below to guide your call.
- Please Call
- 1. Charles Pruitt (Chair, Business and Finance Committee)
- A.B. Data, Ltd.
- 8050 North Port Washington Rd., Milwaukee 53217
- Email: cpruitt @ abdata.com
- Tel: 414-540-5003
- 2. Eileen Connolly-Keesler (Vice Chair, Business and
- 2657 Megan Way, Neenah 54956
- Email: ekeesler @ new.rr.com
- Tel: 920-426-3993
- 3. David G. Walsh (REGENT PRESIDENT)
- Foley & Lardner
- P.O. Box 1497, 150 E. Gilman St., Madison 53701-1497
- Email: dwalsh @ foleylaw.com
- Tel: 608-258-4269
- 4. Mark J. Bradley (REGENT VICE PRESIDENT)
- Ruder, Ware & Michler, LLSC
- P.O. Box 8050, 500 Third St., Suite 700, Wausau 54402-8050
- Email: mbradley @ ruderware.com
- Tel: 715-845-4336
- 5. Gerard A. Randall, Jr.
- Private Industry Council of Milwaukee County
- 2338 North 27th St.
- Milwaukee 53210
- Tel: 414-270-1700
- 6. Peggy Rosenzweig
- 6236 Upper Parkway North,
- Wauwatosa 53213
- Email: prosey5 @ yahoo.com
- Tel: 414-258-4664
- 7. Brent Smith
- Johns & Flaherty
- PO Box 1626, 205 5th Avenue S., Ste 600,
- La Crosse, WI 54602-1626
- Email: brent @ johnsflaherty.com
- Tel: 608-784-5678
- 8. OFFICE OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS
- Judith A. Temby, Secretary
- 1860 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Dr., Madison 53706
- Email: board @ uwsa.edu
- Tel: 608-262-2324
- The contact details for other Regents can be found at:
- Email us at wiscdivest @ yahoo.com to report your call-it's
very important for us to record our impact!
- We need the administration know that we have wide support
for this campaign both in Wisconsin and on a national level. Thank you
for your support.
- In Solidarity, The University of Wisconsin Divest From
- For more information about the meeting or the University
of Wisconsin Divest from Israel Campaign check out: <http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu/>http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu/
or contact wiscdivest @ yahoo.com
- Phone Script:
- Dear NAME,
- Hello my name is *** and I am calling from *** to encourage
you to support the University of Wisconsin Divest from Israel Campaign.
I understand that the University of Wisconsin is currently in violation
of its own investment resolutions, 78-1 and 97-1 through its investment
in companies that support Israel's violations of Palestinian human rights.
This money is currently going to buy military equipment that is demolishing
Palestinian homes, uprooting olives trees, and restricting access to clean
water, school, work and health care. We urge the University to think of
new and just ways that this money could be invested and we support the
student and community mobilization towards divestment. Thank You.
- For further talking points, see the press release about
the resolution passed by The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals
(TAUWP) earlier in 2005. The text of the resolution is also included below:
- Statewide Academic Union Calls for University of Wisconsin
- (Madison, WI- 04/27/05) - The Association of University
of Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP) has adopted a resolution that calls
on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to divest from companies
that provide the Israeli Army with weapons, equipment, and supporting systems.
TAUWP is a statewide local of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin
representing 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.
- Citing the precedent set by the University of Wisconsin's
elimination of investments in apartheid era South Africa, the resolution
urged divestment from Boeing, Caterpillar, General Dynamics, General Electric,
Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon `based on evidence of the
active role these companies play in enabling Israeli forces to engage in
practices that violate international law and the human rights of the Palestinian
people.' The University of Wisconsin Trust Fund's investments in the companies
specified by the resolution exceed $3.8 Million.
- The resolution is part of The University of Wisconsin
Divest from Israel Campaign, a project led by Al-Awda Wisconsin (The Palestine
Right to Return Coalition) and Alternative Palestinian Agenda in partnership
with several local social justice, student, and community organizations.
The campaign gained significant momentum when the Faculty Senate of the
University of Wisconsin-Platteville passed a similar resolution at it's
regular meeting on January 25th 2005. The UW-Platteville senate became
the first University faculty body in the United States to adopt a resolution
calling for divestment from companies providing material aid to Israel.
A similar resolution was adopted by the Teaching Assistant Association
and called on the Board of Regents to divest from weapon manufacturers.
- TAUWP cited reports by independent international, Palestinian,
and Israeli Human Rights organizations that document widespread war crimes
and human rights violations committed against Palestinian civilians. It
was pointed out that in many instances, these abuses are perpetrated using
weapons and equipment manufactured by the companies identified in the resolution.
Holdings in these companies are therefore contrary to the University of
Wisconsin's code of socially responsible investment, which requires the
Board to divest from companies whose corporate practices or policies are
discriminatory or cause substantial social injury.
- Caterpillar Corporation - one of the companies identified
in the resolution - provides the Israeli Army with the D-9 bulldozer and
other equipment used to carry out widespread and systematic demolition
of Palestinian civilian homes, acts which have been classified by the UN
Commission on Human Rights as war crimes.
- Numerous civil society institutions have recently voiced
support for divestment from Israel. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has resolved
to divest its portfolio from companies aiding Israel's occupation 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 endorsed
divestment from Israel. Last week, the Association of University Teachers,
the UK's largest lecturer's union, voted to boycott two Israeli universities
for their role in facilitating human rights violations perpetrated by the
- RESOLUTION ON UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN INVESTMENTS AND
- (Adopted by The Association of University of Wisconsin
Professionals, TAUWP, April 23rd, 2005)
- WHEREAS, American principles, values, and traditions
emphasize the right of the individual to basic freedoms without regard
to ethnic origin or religious affiliation and support the protection and
extension of these freedoms to all peoples around the globe, and where
the systematic denial of these freedoms prompted the University of Wisconsin
System to affirm its commitment to socially responsible investment by divesting
its holdings in Apartheid era South Africa, in accordance with investment
- WHEREAS, independent human rights organizations such
as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B'Tselem, Israeli Committee
against House Demolitions, and Al-Haq; the United Nations Human Rights
Commission, and numerous NGOs have documented serious and widespread violations
of international law and the human rights of Palestinian civilians by Israeli
forces operating in the West Bank and Gaza;
- WHEREAS the International Court of Justice has ruled
that Israel's separation wall violates international law and the fundamental
human rights of the Palestinians;
- WHREAS, there is irrefutable evidence that U.S. based
companies in which the University of Wisconsin is invested provide material
aid to the Israeli Army in the form of weapons, equipment, and supporting
systems used to perpetrate human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians,
and where knowingly continuing this support implicates these companies
in practices that violate international humanitarian law;
- WHEREAS, In so far as the effort to divest from these
companies has as its foundation a commitment to international law and the
fundamental rights that belong to every human being, it lays the groundwork
for a just and enduring peace and is therefore an _expression of the hope
for a free and secure future for every Israeli and Palestinian currently
suffering under the burden of conflict.
- WHEREAS, the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22
USC sec. 2304, provides that "no security assistance may be provided
to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern
of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;"
- WHEREAS, University of Wisconsin System Regent Trust
and Fund Policy 78-1 provides that "In accordance with Sec. 36.29(1)
Wis. Stats., all investments "made in any company, corporation, subsidiary
or affiliate which practices or condones through its actions discrimination
on the basis of race, religion, color, creed or sex. . . ." shall
be divested in as prudent but rapid a manner as possible."
- WHEREAS, University of Wisconsin System Regent Trust
and Fund Policy 97-1 (Investment and Social Responsibility) provides that
"the Board acknowledges the importance of maintaining an awareness
of public concerns about corporate policies or practices that are discriminatory
(as defined by 36.29(1) Wis. Stats.) or cause substantial social injury,
and (that) it will take this factor into account."
- BE IT RESOLVED that TAUWP calls upon the University of
Wisconsin System Board of Regents to divest from Boeing, Caterpillar, General
Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon
based on evidence of the active role these companies play in enabling Israeli
Forces to engage in practices that violate international law and the human
rights of the Palestinian people.
- BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that TAUWP urges all UW System
governing bodies and affiliated institutions and unions to adopt similar
resolutions aimed at ensuring the implementation of UW System investment
policies and by extension upholding international law and safeguarding
the human rights of all peoples.
- Weapon Manufacturer University of Wisconsin Investment*
- Boeing $1,015,535
- Caterpillar Inc. $74,813
- General Dynamics $153,150
- General Electric $1,309,462
- Lockheed Martin$548,553
- Northrop Grumman $762,619
- Raytheon $15,831