University unlikely to divest from Israel, Darfur

The University is unlikely to heed the call of two groups of campus activists calling for GW to divest from companies that do business with Sudan and Israel.

The push for the University to divest from companies with ties to Israel, led by campus activists for Palestinian rights, is the second major divestment campaign on campus. The group Students Taking Action Now: Darfur is leading the other campaign and the University said last week that divestment is unlikely in either case.

“In general we don’t believe divestment is an avenue we want to take,” said Louis Katz, Executive Vice President and Treasurer. “This issue and other issues are serious, but the question for divestment is: where do you draw the line?”

“Who is to say these issues are more important than others?” Katz said.

The divestment effort became the center of a controversy when Fadi Kiblawi, a Palestinian activist and third-year GW Law School student, called for the University to divest from “companies profiting from Israel’s oppression of Palestinians” on March 30. GW Hillel sent a message over its listserv accusing Kiblawi of being a terrorist and urging members of Hillel to protest an event where Kiblawi spoke.

“As an investor, GW has a moral and ethical responsibility to support divestment from human rights violators, including Israel and Sudan,” Kiblawi told The Hatchet.

Talk of divestment from Isreal however, has been met by harsh criticism from some members of GW’s Jewish community.

“It seems its goal would create more problems and divisions, rather than solve the current situation,” said senior Jaclyn Schiff, the Jewish Student Association’s vice president of Israel Affairs, of the divestment campaign.

Katz said he did not know if GW invests in Israeli companies, but he said GW does invest in countries that do business in Israel because, “Israel is a huge country.” Katz and other officials have said they do not know if the University invests in companies with ties to Darfur.

Kiblawi said in addition to his call for divestment from Israel, he supports STAND’s fight to divest from the Darfur region of Sudan, where genocide has killed 200,000 and displaced 2 million.

STAND has been urging the administration to divest by appealing to the Student Association, holding events and distributing information about the Darfur genocide, said STAND policy chair Justin Zorn, a junior. n

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