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January 30, 2017 3:28 pm

Georgetown U Refuses Student Coalition Demand to Disclose, Cease Investment in Companies Complicit in ‘Illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestine’

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avatar by Lea Speyer

Members of GU F.R.E.E. protesting on campus. Photo: GU F.R.E.E./ Facebook.

Members of GU F.R.E.E. protesting on campus. Photo: GU F.R.E.E./Facebook.

Georgetown University refused a student coalition’s demand that it first disclose and then halt its investment in companies that contribute to the “illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine,” the student newspaper The Hoya reported on Friday.

According to the report, GU officials refused, on the grounds that it maintains a “standard practice” of not disclosing any of its investments. This answer was given nearly two months after the coalition “Georgetown University Forming a Radically Ethical Endowment Coalition (GU F.R.E.E.)” — endorsed by 17 student organizations — sent a letter to the university’s president issuing a January 13 deadline to divest from companies that “[perpetuate] state violence.”

The nine companies referred to by GU F.R.E.E. include Boeing, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, General Electric and Hewlett-Packard, which the group said are “knowingly and consistently” complicit in Israeli “human rights violations” against “indigenous” Palestinians, such as “collective punishment,” “forcible displacement” and “occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.”

GU F.R.E.E. told The Hoya that the school’s response indicates it has “some sort of relationship with the named companies and as such, we will move forward with our campaign.” 

According to the report, GU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace are all members of GU F.R.E.E. Georgetown Israel Alliance, the Jewish Student Alliance and J Street U Georgetown are not.

J Street U Georgetown said in a statement to The Hoya that the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which GU F.R.E.E. endorses, is “not…an effective or helpful way to end the conflict and reach a peaceful resolution.”

“We encourage positive reinvestment into the Palestinian economy and civil society and diplomatic negotiation as a means to achieve a lasting peace agreement,” the group said.

Support for BDS among faculty and students at GU was one of several factors contributing to the placement of the Washington, DC-based university on The Algemeiner’s inaugural list of the “40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students” in North America, coming in 37th.

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