ago supporters of Israel were commenting on the end of divestment
campaigns against Israel. Maybe they were too hasty.
At the outbreak of the Palestinian
war against Israel in 2000, Palestinian allies in Europe and the United
States also launched an economic war against Israel. The "Divestment"
campaign lobbied churches, municipalities and universities to "divest"
their investment portfolios from Israeli firms or American corporations
that do business with Israel. Some European academics also sought to
boycott Israeli academic institutions and scholars. The campaigns were
patterned after anti-apartheid efforts against the former South African
In almost all cases, the divestment campaigns were
defeated. While the Presbyterian Church approved a divestment campaign
in 2004, the U.S. Episcopal Church and United Church of Christ rejected
the proposal in 2005. Similarly, on almost all American campuses,
anti-Israel divestment proposals failed.
By October 2005, the
Reuters news agency reported, "Some U.S. Protestant churches are
turning their back on the idea of dumping investments in companies
profiting from Israel's West Bank occupation."
Harter, a force behind the anti-divestment group, Presbyterians
Concerned for Jewish and Christian Relations, declared, "There's a
growing awareness that this [divestment campaign] was a major mistake."
It is also outdated," Harter explained, because Israel has made "major
concessions and a major step toward peace" with the disengagement.
In October 2005, a group of 28 Protestant and Jewish leaders toured
Israel and the Palestinian territories and concluded that "the most important lesson
was that divestment
would not be helpful. Rather, investment in the land and the people
could make a difference... Divestment is not an effective strategy to
promote peace. Rather, it is a strategy that denies the complexities of
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and seeks to punish Israel, rather
than engage in a constructive solution."
clerics' recognition of the futility and harm of the Divestment
campaign, anti-Israel academics have not wavered in their attacks. At
the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses of the University of Michigan last
week a group of faculty drafted a letter calling on the university to
form an investigative committee to explore divestment from companies
doing business with Israel.
Last week, anti-Israel protestors "packed" a hearing of the University of Wisconsin's
regents who were discussing the university's investment portfolio.
Speaker after speaker called on the university to divest from companies
doing business with the Israeli military. As reported by the local
press, The Capital Times, "Ken Goldstein, a UW-Madison
political science professor, was one of the few pro-Israel speakers to
attend the event. He said everyone knows that the best solution is
Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side. The Palestinians
have yet to control their radical elements and take risks for peace, he
said. Referring to [a protestor who brought her child], he said: 'When
a Palestinian mother loves her child as much as that woman loves her
child, and does not encourage 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds to strap bombs
onto their body and blow up Israeli -3, 4-, 5-year-olds at a pizzeria,
then we'll have a two-state solution,' Goldstein said. 'This terrorism
is not about a two-state solution,' Goldstein said. 'This is about
driving the Israelis into the sea.'"
The Divestment campaign continues on campus.
Its single goal is to punish and weaken Israel.
The campaign rarely seeks justice in other lands such as Sudan where
genocide is taking place.
It never seeks sanctions against Iran, the world's largest supporter of
terrorism and the promoter of genocide against Israel.
The divestment promoters do not seek to help women or religious
minorities persecuted in Saudi Arabia.
*Survey activities on your campus. Is there an anti-Israel Divestment
proactive. Present the case on campus that Israel is democratic and
taking great risks for peace. Israel's government supports a
Palestinian state (the "two state solution") while many of the
Palestinian terror organizations and supporters seek to destroy the
*Consult with other pro-Israel activists and
organizations. Draft newspaper articles and petitions to counter
*Encourage investment in Israel. Launch a "buy Israel" campaign to
purchase Israeli-made products. Check out www.shopinisrael.com