College protesters want their schools to divest from ties to Israel. Here’s what that means.

“Divestment” is an economic strategy utilized by various social movements as a form of protest. It involves removing investments or financial support from companies or countries to pressure them into changing certain policies or practices. This strategy has been used throughout history for various causes, including the end of apartheid in South Africa, environment-related issues, and, more recently, concerns about fossil fuels.

When college students demand their schools to “divest from ties to Israel”, they are calling on their institutions to stop investing in, or to withdraw investments from, companies or industries that they believe contribute to or profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. This is often part of a wider strategy known as BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), which is a global grassroots movement aiming to pressurize Israel into complying with international law and principles of human rights.

Typically, this would mean the school’s endowment fund (a pool of money contributed by donors, used for school operations or to invest for future growth) would need to avoid stocks, bonds, or other investments connected to such companies.

However, these demands often spark controversy and dialogue, because people have diverging opinions about Israel-Palestine relations, the BDS movement, and the role of institutions in political matters. It is important to note that schools do not function in isolation from the world, they are communities that mirror the diverse and plural ideas present in society. So, these divestment campaigns can be seen as a way

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