Disclose and divest

5
2280

To the administration of Muhlenberg College, 

We, the undersigned students and community members of Muhlenberg College, demand ethical investment practices for our institution’s $308+ million endowment. We call for transparency from the Muhlenberg Investment Office regarding companies funded by our endowment and urge divestment from entities operating in Israel. Additionally, we advocate for an end to programs that normalize relations with Israel.

The actions of the state of Israel have resulted in the deaths of over 30,000 Palestinians, including over 12,000 children, and the displacement of over 1 million Palestinians. The Israeli occupation has been accused of committing war crimes, including the use of illegal weapons and targeting safe zones. The International Court of Justice has raised concerns about possible genocide, and Human Rights Watch has criticized Israel’s restriction of aid to Gaza.

Referencing President Harring’s Earth Day email titled “Leading by Example in Campus Sustainability,” she states, “Our institutional values commit us to being good citizens of the Earth, and to making institutional decisions that are mindful of our complex relations with the ecosystem. I am proud of our community for recognizing this need and actively engaging in partnerships that contribute to a better future for all.” 

To this, we respond, how is funding and normalizing relations to the genocidal state of Israel which is actively bombing neighborhoods, hospitals, UN buildings, Aid vehicles, and depriving an entire population of Palestinians the right to food, water, and aid, sustainable in any form. Is this how we celebrate Earth day?

The Muhlenberg community will do everything in its power to help end this violence and the occupation of Palestine. This petition ignites the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) campaign against Israel here at Muhlenberg College. BDS is a strategic movement that began in the 1980s to end apartheid in South Africa. This movement began on college campuses, with students just like us demanding that their institutions invest ethically. By the time apartheid ended in 1988, 150 US universities had divested from companies operating in South Africa. With funds withdrawn on a large scale, the apartheid former South African regime was made to understand that their violent practices were not acceptable. This lead to the collapse of apartheid, election of Nelson Mandela, and a brighter future for millions of South Africans. 

In 2002, in light of the end of former South African apartheid, anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Prize recipient Desmond Tutu wrote that “There is no greater testament to the basic dignity of ordinary people everywhere than the divestment movement of the 1980s,” and that “a similar movement has taken shape recently, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. We should hope that average citizens again rise to the occasion…” We know that Israel depends on American financial support to carry out their crimes. Israel already receives billions from the US Government – it shall not receive a penny more from Muhlenberg College. As Nelson Mandela famously stated, “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Today, as members of the Muhlenberg College community, we refuse to remain silent while our institution continues to align itself with the far-right genocidal government of Israel. We are committed to taking action to address these issues.

Until our demands are fulfilled, Muhlenberg Alumni pledge to withhold ALL donations and all forms of support to the college.

We want to know where our money is going, and assurance that our money is not funding a genocide.

We are committed to taking action to address these issues. Our demands include:

1. ISSUE A STATEMENT: that (a) calls for a ceasefire; (b) recognizes the actions of Israel as a U.S.-funded genocide, rather than a “conflict,” which infers symmetrical claim, power and aggression; (c) contextualizes the violence and recognizes the 75 years of settler-colonial violence that preceded October 7th; (d) explicitly condemns the Israeli regime.

2. END PRO-ISRAEL PROGRAMMING: Muhlenberg-supported programs such as Israeli study abroad and birthright, and yearly instated Israeli Fellowships which normalize relations with a far-right, settler-colonial, and genocidal state. Muhlenberg College does not have such relations with other states that perpetuate large-scale violence against civilians, such as Russia. These programs must end, in line with the BDS movement. 

3. PUBLICIZE MUHLENBERG’S INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO: A core tenant of the Muhlenberg Endowment is to uphold university values and morals. The values of the college are determined by the community which inhabits its campus. To ensure accountability, the actions taken by the Investment Office must be transparent to that community. We demand that the list of companies and all other entities supported by our endowment is included in all future Endowment Reports. 

4. DIVEST from all entities (including but not limited to governments, companies, NGOs, and individuals) directly operating in collaboration with the Israeli government. This includes tech companies such as HP, Lockheed Martin, and BlackRock which has directly aided Israel in providing weapon manufacturing, AI, and bombs that have killed more than 30,000 Palestinians since October 7. This does not include the MILLIONS prior to October 7.

Read more about the global BDS movement against Israel here: https://bdsmovement.net/ 

5 COMMENTS

  1. To the person that allowed this to be published, as well as the person that wrote this, shame on you. What has Muhlenberg become…

    • Useful idiots at Muhlenberg. Citing “Palestinians” rather than “Hamas” is the first sign that they are willing dupes of the evil killers of innocent Israelis on October 7th and some seventy-five years. Using the Hamas number of 30,000 dead disingenuous. Simply a made-up number from the sky-diving killers in Gaza.

  2. No doubt this isn’t real journalism…it’s just a forum for disgruntled students to make demands with no recourse, no two-sided opinions and no knowledge of geopolitics. I think students should have to pass a history test before making statements like these.

  3. I am surprised that the writer cited easily disproven Hamas numbers as “proof” of a false genocide. This “Disclose and Divest” missive is poorly researched and borderline hysterical. Students should be required to read properly researched publications as to the history of Israel as well as understand the facts of the October 7, 2023 mayhem and murders. This so-called proclamation is an embarrassment and does not represent allegedly educated people.

  4. Despite a few clear errors on Israel’s part, the fact is that the casualty ratio of civilians : combatants in the Gaza-Israel war is one of the lowest in modern warfare. What does this mean in plain English? That despite unusually difficult circumstances, Israel is doing a far BETTER job of minimizing civilian casualties than any modern army elsewhere.

    This is not “genocide”!

    The people throwing around that term so casually display either a complete loss of touch with reality, or a bigoted attitude towards Israel and Jews that finds facts and truth to be inconveniences to be dispensed with.

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