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

$170m Argentina loss for Israeli water firm Mekorot as BDS spreads southward

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The Buenos Aires municipality suspended a $170m water deal with Mekorot following a campaign over its role in Israel’s system of ‘water apartheid’

Briefing, Downloads

New Briefing – Besieging health services in Gaza: a profitable business

Corporate Watch’s new briefing exposes how the Israeli economy profits from the siege of health services in Gaza and highlights calls from Palestinian health workers to boycott Israeli pharmaceutical companies.

News

Luxembourg pension fund dumps 9 Israeli firms over settlements

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Luxembourg’s state pension fund FDC has excluded nine major Israeli banks and firms and one US company because of their involvement in Israeli settlements and human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories

News

Israeli government takes credit for ABP decision not to divest – but is it telling the truth?

MEMO

The Israeli government gets caught out exaggerating the role it is playing in influencing European financial institutions

News

Dutch association publishes advice on OPT for increasingly concerned investors

MEMO

A leading Dutch association of investors has claimed that many of the country’s pension funds, insurance companies and banks “fail to adequately apply guidelines on international law and human rights” with regards to investment in Israeli companies

News

SodaStream Drops Amid Sanctions Over Jewish Settlements

Major business news outlet Bloomberg attributes the falling share prices of Israeli company SodaStream to the BDS campaign against it

News

Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem calls for boycott in response to Beit Safafa highway

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The Israeli Supreme Court has sanctioned completion of the illegal section of the “Begin Highway” that cuts through the Palestinian community of Beit Safafa in occupied East Jerusalem and connects illegal Israeli settlements

News

Denmark’s largest bank blacklists Israel’s Hapoalim over settlement construction

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Danske Bank states Bank Hapoalim is acting against the rules of international humanitarian law, having already pulled investments from two Israeli firms.

News

Financial Times editorial criticises SodaStream and illegal Israeli settlement firms

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It is disingenuous to romanticise settlement enterprises, the Financial Times says

Statements

UN year of solidarity with the Palestinian people begins with boycott success

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Just three weeks into 2014, the BDS movement has already achieved important successes

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