Global BDS Movement – Why Divestment?

 

Why Divestment?

http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/4

Divestment (or disinvestment) means putting and end to investments in Israel and companies supporting Israeli occupation and apartheid.

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Aims

Encourage and pressure individuals, financial institutions and companies to shed their investments in Israel in order to curb the profits of Israel’s war and apartheid economy. To raise awareness about Israel’s policies and true nature among companies, and encourage them to use their economic influence to put pressure on Israel to end the discrimination and expulsion of the Palestinian people and the occupation of their land.

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Why?

Individuals can withdraw their personal investments in Israeli companies, sending a message to Israel and cutting off the funding used to sustain the Occupation. Moreover, a divestment campaign targeted at businesses and organisations with investments can instil broader values of corporate responsibility. In solidarity work, divestment is similar to sanctions in that it largely relies upon securing certain actions by others (in this instance, share-holders or companies withdrawing their investments) as the majority of BDS campaigners are not in a position to divest capital. There are a variety of institutions in which individuals and constituents hold considerable stake and influence (churches, unions, universities, pension funds), and are the potential sites of strong BDS campaigns.

 

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The global movement to divest from Apartheid Israel is active on campuses, in Churches and in civil society movements across the globe. The movement is growing. The tactic of withdrawing investments, if successful, can start a downward spiral in which investing in Israel will simply become too risky a prospect. This happened in South Africa once financial institutions started to withdraw and played an important role in supporting the freedom struggle. Divestment as a solidarity strategy can hurt a regime or company economically, but moreover, it may trigger reflections as to why it has been singled out. In this respect divestment advocacy work, even if unsuccessful financially, can bring about changes to the overall climate in which the offender is viewed and raises the profile of the BDS campaign considerably.

 

Do it yourself

Companies with direct links to direct actors in Israeli crimes are the obvious target for divestment, but divestment from Israel as a whole can send a message to the Israeli society that individuals and organisations around the world are no longer prepared either to bankroll the occupation, discrimination and expulsion of the Palestinian people or the implicit support it receives from within all sectors of Israeli society.

 

1. Get rid of your own investments in Israel

Examine any investments you have and identify Israeli companies as well as secondary companies who are directly aiding the Occupation, and invest your money elsewhere. Write to the company telling them that you have disposed of your investments, and the reasons. Encourage them to put pressure on the Israeli government to end the oppression of Palestinians.

 

2. Lobby financial institutions:

If you have money in a bank, building society, pension scheme or other financial body you can obtain a list of where your money is being invested by writing to them or calling them. If money is being invested in Israeli companies, lobby the bank to get rid of these investments. If they refuse to do so, you can transfer to a different institution in protest.

3. Put pressure on organisations that you are a member of

Many organisations, such as Universities, churches and trade unions, have investments in Israeli or secondary companies with significant financial interests in Israel. Identify any such investments and lobby boards or representatives to divest from Israel and make public statements in support of Palestine..

4. Shareholder Activism

Shareholder activism is an important means to support your public divestment campaigns. You can buy a small amount of shares of a company and participate in their Annual General Meetings to raise the issue of divestment. Combined with a public campaign, you might find growing support among the shareholders for divestment able to pass motions that force the management to stop the targeted investments.

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