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ACCRIP releases recommendation to divest

Committee discusses criteria for selecting companies from which to divest

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

After efforts from Brown Divest, ACCRIP recommended that the University divest from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land” and discussed their criteria for selecting companies.

The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies released their official recommendation that the University divest from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land,” according to the report published Monday. The recommendation was made to President Christina Paxson P’19 and the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.

During a committee meeting Tuesday, the members discussed their criteria for selecting which specific companies to recommend the University divest from.

Student group Brown Divest published a press release calling ACCRIP’s recommendation “an important victory for our movement.” The group wrote that Paxson and the Corporation now have a choice about whether to divest or to “ignore students and continue to invest in companies causing severe social harm.”

ACCRIP Chair and Professor of Medical Science Chi-Ming Hai said the committee’s goal is not to tell the firms that handle the University’s investments how to divest, but rather to send out a second report to Paxson outlining ACCRIP’s criteria for divestment. Hai hopes that the University will “go back to this report to identify companies,” if they decide to pursue divestment.

The members of ACCRIP then discussed the United Nations Human Rights Council’s list of possible criteria for divestment. These criteria were outlined in a recent Council report containing a database of 112 companies found to be involved in “activities that raised particular human rights concerns” in the “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” These activities include supplying “equipment and materials facilitating the construction and the expansion of settlements and the wall,” supplying “equipment for the demolition of housing and property” and providing “security services, equipment and materials to enterprises operating in settlements.”

Hai highlighted that divestment is still important, even if it has minimal impact. He suggested that divestment is a “negative approach” to the problem, and that instead of only divesting from companies which facilitate human rights abuses, the University could practice “positive investment” by investing in companies that make humanitarian impact.

Because of low attendance from committee members and the University community, ACCRIP did not make any definite decisions regarding their criteria for divesting. For the rest of the semester, the committee’s meetings will be held through Zoom due to concerns relating to COVID-19.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that committee member Sara Cunningham ’06 said that ACCRIP should look at each of the companies on the UN’s list and decide if the University should divest from them on a case-by-case basis. In fact, Cunningham did not say that. The Herald regrets the error.

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10 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Liss '65 says:

    O, the hypocrisy! Israel, but not, e.g., China, where a million people are being held in forced labor camps, not to mention other daily abuses there?? Why not divest from companies that profit there? Or, just another example, Myanmar? Or Turkey? Or Saudi Arabia? Please explain.

  2. David Josephson says:

    Surely you know the explanation. Israel is a racist Apartheid settler colonial state, the product of Western imperialism run by Zionists who control the world’s banks and America’s politicians. China, on the other hand, is a victim of Western imperialism and the producer of the iPhone and everything we wear and use daily, wear, so its sins, even those against Muslims, don’t count. Anyway, what’s a Uighur? As for Myanmar, we can’t locate it on a map or spell its name, so it doesn’t count. Turkey is Muslim and we must not be Islamophobic, so don’t mention its name. Saudi, ditto. Get with the program, Jeffrey.

    • Redwood100 says:

      The idea to slander Israel via a false analogy to”apartheid” dates back to Octber 1961 – SIX YEARS before the so called “occupation” from a speech by Saudi Arabia’s UN representative Ahmad Shukairy. It was picked up by the Arab propaganda machine ever since and adjusted as part of their demagoguery to falsly link legitimate Israeli security concerns and actions to prevent real terrorism.

      As for your false meme that Israel is a settler colonial state – well, hogwash. It is an empirical fact of history supported by rems of scholorship and archeological evidencce and DNA studies that Jews writ large are not racially European (i.e. “white”) but rather an indigenous Middle Eastern “oriental” and this was common knowledge until the 1960s. And this knowledge only became obscured with the concomitant rise of anti-Zionist ideology, which rests on denying Jewish indigeneity to the Middle East and, by extention, their right to be their at all. Now Jews are cast as “white Europeans”, thereby allowing them to continue to be ostracized as a backwads, oppresive, powerful and malignant force.

  3. redwood100 says:

    Please, please, please stick to your BDS principles when Israeli companies begin distributing their COVID-19 vaccine. On second thought, keep a card in your wallet that in cse of emergency you should not have any Israeli pharmaceuticals, medical procedures, or lab diagnostics applied in your case. Remember, Hamas is depending on you!

  4. Elie Hirschfeld, Trustee emeritus says:

    President Bollinger Condemns Anti-Semitism in a Statement Before the Senate Plenary | Office of the President.

    https://president.columbia.edu/news/president-bollinger-condemns-anti-semitism-statement-senate-plenary

  5. Really baffles the mind how one can be a product of an Ivy League university and still so ignorant.
    On second thought, given the track record of Colombia U. and Berkley, perhaps nowadays it is an inevitable combination.

  6. Al Hakam, alumnus living ion Singapore says:

    I wrote a long reply but it somewhat disappeared.
    I wrote that disinvestment not only from those companies that benefit fom the occupation should e analysed in terms of not only bnfits but coss
    1. for instance the thousands of Palestinian employees hired in the West Bank by these companies. Should all these employees lose they jobs?
    2. What about the Palestinian businesss and entrepreneurs who benefit from the Palestinian authority as led by Abbas with Israel to secure them from incursion and possi9ble occupation by Hamas. Do they want the West Bank to be like Gaza, where Hamas rule had been very destructive of the human rights of the Gaza people?
    The solution to th conflict of Palestinians and Israelis is not disinvestment but at the immediate integration of they later and other envionm
    tal resouces to include also Jordan. as advocated recently by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. Other wise there will be dire consequences for both.

  7. Robert Berger '81 says:

    It is shocking that a virulently anti-Semitic and racist organization such as Brown Divest is allowed to exist within the Brown community. Shame on Brown.

    To allow Brown Divest to then spread its vicious propaganda throughout the Brown community, and thereby influence ACCRIP, is the sad result.

    ACCRIP then issues a report that consists of conclusions and recommendations that are based on complete falsehoods. This brings into question the credibility and competency of ACCRIP.

    If it turns out that ACCRIP was going to come to this conclusion with or without Brown Divest’s involvment, then it brings into question whether or not members of ACCRIP are also anti-Semites and racists, and whether they should be allowed to continue to serve on ACCRIP, or in any capacity whatsoever within the Brown community.

  8. You all missed the point. BDS is not pro-Palestinian but Anti-Israeli and -recently – anti-Jewish .
    You may ask: What’s the difference ?
    Well, there are a number of explanations and no real gentleman or lady, would like them.

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