British universities invest over £450 million in companies complicit in Israeli war crimes, per new report

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Research by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the U.K. reveals that British universities invest over £456 million in companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law. The research was published as hundreds of students across the country take action as part of ‘Apartheid Off Campus’ day of action, with banner drops and protests at campuses across the UK.

Research released by Palestine Solidarity Campaign on the week of the UN Day of Solidarity with The Palestinian people has estimated that UK Universities invest nearly £456,311,000 in companies complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, including through supplying weapons and technology to the Israeli military, and investing in Israel’s illegal settlement economy. The research has been released as a database available to students and members of the public. 

Palestine Solidarity Campaign conducted the research by sending Freedom of Information requests to all 151 UK universities asking about the market value of their direct investments, as well as their investments in funds.  With this information, alongside data from Bloomberg International’s database containing the holdings of major investment funds, PSC has established  the investments of 44 UK Universities in complicit companies, which totals at least £129,239,973.60.

From this information PSC has calculated an average “complicity percentage” for the sector and applied it  to the 53 universities who refused to hand over information on their investments to create an overall projection for the entire sector.

The release of the exclusive research comes as students across the country held protests, rallies, and other events as part of a national ‘Apartheid Off Campus’ day of action, seeking to highlight how universities’ investment and partnership policies tacitly support and enable Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and human rights.

One example being highlighted by students is the University of Manchester’s ongoing investment in the company Caterpillar, which supplies the armoured bulldozers for the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes, schools, olive groves and communities.

Huda Ammori, Campaigns Officer at Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Israel’s well-documented oppression of the Palestinian people, amounting to the crime of apartheid under international law, can only be maintained because companies continue to provide weapons and other support to the Israeli military, and to invest in Israel’s illegal settlement industry. It is shocking that UK Universities fuel Israel’s human rights abuses by investing in such companies, despite the majority holding so-called ethical investment policies. We will continue to support students across the UK in taking action to demand that their institutions divest from complicit companies, and get apartheid off campus.”

Mohammed Ali, President of Kings College London Action Palestine, said: “As a Palestinian student, I am disgusted to find out that my institution has complicit links with Israeli apartheid. We will continue to campaign with students across the country to demand our universities abide by their ethical policies, and remove all links with companies and institutions complicit in human rights abuses.”

A note on calculations:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign sent FOI requests to all UK Universities, and the breakdown is as follows:
– 53 UK universities did not hand over any information. 42 of these universities refused citing exemption from the FOI Act, despite other universities doing so willingly. PSC is currently challenging these decisions. The other 11 institutions in this category simply did not reply at all.
— 33 UK universities replied but do not hold investments in any company or funds (this is most likely due to the size of these universities).
– 44 UK universities who do hold investments in any companies or funds replied providing PSC with the full data.
– The remaining UK universities have only provided partial data in response to the request.
So, based on the direct and complete data from the 44 universities, and excluding any skewing anomalies, PSC calculated an average “complicity percentage” for the sector, i.e. an average percentage for what proportion of a university’s total endowment is invested in complicit companies (3.78%). It then applied this percentage to all the universities which provided partial or no data.

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PSC calculated an average “complicity percentage” for the sector…

So basically, it is a fiction.