Justice group urges campuses to switch portfolio

April 12, 2002

Universities in the United States are coming under pressure to drop companies with "substantial" business links with Israel from their investment portfolios.

The disinvestment drive is spearheaded by the University of California at Berkeley-based Students for Justice in Palestine. It wants UC to switch its portfolio from companies such as General Electric and Hewlett-Packard, manufacturer of the guidance system used by helicopters in attacks on cities in the occupied territories.

UC's 1968 decision to disinvest from South Africa was recognised by Nelson Mandela as a turning point in the international campaign against apartheid.

SJP declared Wednesday a national day of action in support of Palestine and its campaign. Up to $6.4 billion (£4.5 billion) of UC investment is in companies either with Israeli trade links worth at least $5 million a year, or with branches or subsidiaries there. They also include missile manufacturer Raytheon, Cisco Systems, Texas Instruments, AOL Time Warner and Microsoft.

The university has yet to respond to the request for disinvestment, which was made nearly a year ago. Since the $3 billion of South African investments were withdrawn after 1968, the university's portfolio has grown from $9 billion to $54 billion.

Details: www.justiceinpalestine.org

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