Open letter to universities to divest for Palestine

This letter has been coordinated by a coalition of university student societies* across the UK.


As scholars from across the world, we call on our institutions to divest for Palestine.

In the last few weeks, we have seen boycotts, divestment from and sanctions on Russia for its invasion and occupation of Ukraine. Individuals and companies have boycotted Russian goods, and governments have imposed extensive sanctions on Russia in response to its actions.

We have witnessed what is possible when individuals, companies and governments unite against those who violate international law.

Palestine has been under Israeli occupation for decades. Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are widely recognised as illegal under international law and have been condemned by the United Nations [1]. Israel also has a long history of committing war crimes, from devastation beyond military necessity during the Nakba of 1948 to its ongoing ill-treatment, torture and murder of Palestinians living under occupation.

Despite this, universities around the world continue to invest in companies complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine. These include, but are not limited to, Rolls-Royce PLC, BAE Systems, HP (Hewlett Packard), and Expedia. British universities, for example, hold investments of around £450m in companies complicit in the occupation [2].

There is now a consensus among leading international human rights organisations that Israel is an apartheid state, as Palestinians have said for decades. Last month Amnesty International published a 280-page report on this, building on a similar report by Human Rights Watch in April 2021[3].

We call on our institutions to take action and divest for Palestine. We have now seen what can be achieved when we unite against those who break international law, and we must do the same for Palestine.

Dr Bashir Abu-Manneh, University of Kent
Dr Shahd Abusalama, University of Sheffield
Professor Gilbert Achcar, SOAS University of London
Professor Talal Asad, City University of New York
Professor Elsa Auerbach, University of Massachusetts Boston
Dr Haim Bresheeth, SOAS University of London
Assistant Professor Marina Calculli, Sciences Po
Mike Cushman, LSE
Natalia Donner, Leiden University
Professor Mohamed El-Gomati OBE, University of York
Sai Englert, Leiden University
Assistant Professor Layal Ftouni, Utrecht University
Professor John Garrett, retired
Associate Professor David Heap, University of Western Ontario
Sandew Hira, International Institute for Scientific Research
Professor Khaled Hroub, Northwestern University/Qatar
Professor Robin D. G. Kelley, UCLA
Andrew Kilmister, Oxford Brookes University
Dr Jens Lerche, SOAS University of London
Associate Professor Ethan Mark, Leiden University
Elena Burgos Martínez, Leiden University
Professor Nur Masalha, SOAS University of London
Professor Dina Matar, SOAS University of London
Professor Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter
Ian Parker, University of Manchester
Dr Barbara Pizziconi, SOAS University of London
Arnout van Ree, Leiden University
Professor Emerita Caroline Rooney, University of Kent
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, LSE
Professor Richard Seaford, University of Exeter
Dr Henny Ziai, SOAS University of London

3] and

*Friends of Al Aqsa
Students for Palestine Society, Brunel University London
Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Society, University of Cambridge
City Friends of Palestine Society, City, University of London
Palestine Society, Glasgow Caledonian University
Students For Justice For Palestine, KCL
Palestine Society, LSE
Students for Justice for Palestine, Manchester Metropolitan University
Students for Justice in Palestine Society, University of Nottingham
Friends of Palestine Society, University of Reading
Students for Justice in Palestine Society, UCL
Warwick Afghan Society, University of Warwick

Art Book Review Books Capitalism China Climate Emergency Conservative Government Conservative Party COVID-19 Creeping Fascism Economics EcoSocialism Elections Europe Event Video Fascism Film Film Review France Gaza Global Police State History Imperialism Israel Italy Keir Starmer Labour Party Long Read Marxism Marxist Theory Migrants Palestine pandemic Police Political Prisoners Protest Russia Solidarity Statement Trade Unionism Trans*Mission Transgender Ukraine United States of America War

Join the discussion