Divestment

Divestment calls for the withdrawal of stocks and funds from corporations complicit in the violation of international law and Palestinian rights and ensures that investment portfolios and public funds are not used to finance or purchase products and services from such companies. These campaigns can take advantage of voluntary and mandatory corporate responsibility mechanisms.

There are a variety of funds in which individuals and constituents hold considerable stake and influence such as churches, unions, universities, local authorities and pension funds, and these are the potential sites of strong BDS campaigns. Activists can also pressure public and private sector institutions not to invest in or have dealings with these companies. These efforts raise awareness about the reality of Israel’s policies and encourage companies to use their economic influence to pressure Israel to end its systematic oppression of the Palestinian people.

Individuals can withdraw their personal investments in Israeli companies. However, divestment is similar to sanctions in that it largely relies upon securing certain actions by others (in this instance, share-holders, companies or public authorities withdrawing their investments or contracts) as the majority of BDS campaigners are not in a position to divest significant capital.

Campaigners use tactics such as letter-writing campaigns, lobbying campaigns, media exposure and shareholder activism, whereby individuals buy a small amount of shares in a given company in order to be able to raise the issue of their investments supporting Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law from within the official decision making processes.

During the divestment campaign against South African apartheid, a downward spiral whereby investing in South Africa became too risky a prospect. Divestment as a solidarity strategy can hurt a regime or company economically. More importantly, it forces its target to reflect on why it is being targeted. 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.

For more ideas on how to get involved, see the popular divestment campaigns around Veolia and Alstom, Eden Springs and the Arms Trade.

Recent Divestment Articles

News

SodaStream: is BDS hitting where it hurts?

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SodaStream’s stock is now 70% off its all-time high set in July 2011

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European investors continue to divest from Israeli apartheid

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Investing in Israeli settlements continues “cycle of violence”, says Desmond Tutu

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Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce, as European boycotts surge

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Major Israeli food exporters are facing an unprecedented wave of cancelations in orders from Europe as a result of Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians in Gaza

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Freedom and justice For Gaza: Boycott action against 7 complicit companies

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Ideas for action against 7 companies that must be held accountable for their role in Israel’s ongoing massacre in Gaza

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Round-up: Israel’s massacre in Gaza prompts international sanctions and boycott action

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Latin American countries are taking tough measures against Israel while grassroots mobilisations across the world demand boycott and sanctions

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Israel must be held accountable for its collective punishment of Palestinians

The Israeli military has conducted hundred of raids across the West Bank and launched dozens of attacks on Gaza. © Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

Israel is only able to act with utter impunity because of the military, economic and political support it receives from governments around the world

Statements

Palestinian civil society salutes Presbyterians on divestment resolution

The Presbyterian Church (USA) general assembly has voted to divest its holdings from three US corporations on the basis of their well-documented record of complicity in the oppression and denial of human rights of Palestinians.

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Fifth University of California campus passes divestment motion

The student government at the University of California at Santa Cruz passed a divestment resolution early Wednesday morning.

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George Soros funds and foundations must be held accountable for investments in Israeli violations of international law

Soros funds have announcement investment in SodaStream stock and increased investment in Teva Pharmaceuticals, both Israeli companies that are deeply involved in violations of international law

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Divestment passes at University of California at Riverside

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Students for Justice in Palestine face up to intimidation and succeed in passing resolution

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