Northwestern U. Students Pass Israel Divestment Resolution

Narrow majority supports motion calling on the university to divest from companies whose products, they said, enable Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.

Northwestern University
The entrance to Northwestern University. Wikimedia Commons

The Northwestern University student body has narrowly passed a resolution calling on the university to divest from six corporations which, according to the resolution’s sponsors, violate Palestinian human rights.

The resolution, which was sponsored by the NUDivest campus organization, is only a recommendation to university officials and does not represent a policy change, The Daily Northwestern website reported.

Northwestern University has campuses in Evanston and Chicago in Illinois, in the United States.

The companies involved are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Hewlett-Packard, G4S, Caterpillar and Elbit Systems. Divestment supporters maintained that products from these companies are used by Israel in human rights violations in the Palestinian territories.

The resolution passed with 24 votes in favor and 22 votes against, with three abstentions, following more than five hours of debate.

It also asks the university to form an “investment transparency task force” to oversee investments. Currently, the University’s Investment Office does not release information on its investments.

NUDivest held a BDS workshop earlier this month to educate students on the movement and to clarify misconceptions about it. NUDivest members stressed in speeches on Wednesday night that the resolution focuses solely on divestment, not boycott or sanctions.

Other students who spoke against the resolution said that the resolution would strain dialogue between groups on campus that address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.