WHAT IS UMN DIVEST?
UMN Divest is a grassroots, student-led campaign calling on University of Minnesota to divest from corporations that are profiting off of human right abuses of Palestinians. Students for Justice in Palestine at the University in Minnesota, in conjunction with over 30 UMN student organizations and faculty, call on our administration and Minnesota Student Association to pass a resolution requesting the University of Minnesota to financially divest from corporations that directly profit from human rights violations. Divestment is the removing of investment from corporations that profit from human rights abuses and violations of international law.
These companies provide the means to restrict Palestinian freedom of movement, demolish Palestinian homes, mass incarcerate civilians, and more. Our campaign is in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which was initiated by the Palestinian Civil Society in 2005 until Israel complies with international law.
Below are the names of the corporations our resolution is targeting as well as a brief description of their respective roles in the illegal occupation.
Caterpillar supplies bulldozers and earth-moving equipment to the Israeli military (IDF) through the US Foreign Military Sales program. The IDF systematically uses these for “urban warfare” in severe war crimes such as destroying Palestinian homes, orchards, olive groves, and water cisterns in the Occupied Territory. Caterpillar’s sole representative in Israel, Israel Tractors and Equipment (ITE) has weaponized Caterpillar bulldozers and equipment to perform unmanned military operations for the Israeli army. Caterpillar’s weaponized bulldozers have been used to clear the way for ground troops in Israel’s 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip. Caterpillar bulldozers and earth-moving equipment are also used to clear Palestinian land for illegal Israeli settlements, segregated roads, and the Separation Wall, which annexes Palestinian land to Israel.
Elbit Systems, an international defense electronics company headquartered in Israel, is a major supplier to the Israeli military (IDF), which enforces the occupation of Palestinian land. It is one of two main providers of the electronic detection fence for the Separation Wall in the occupied West Bank. The company is one of the main exporters of military drones globally and also produce a UGV – a weaponized autonomous ground vehicle which patrol the West bank, responsible for killing and maiming Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
Group 4 Securicor (G4S) provides equipment for Israeli prisons that hold Palestinian political prisoners and for Israeli military checkpoints, as well as security services to businesses in illegal settlements; G4S also profits from global mass incarceration by operating in private prisons and provides transportation services for the Department of Homeland Security’s ICE deportations across the US-Mexico border.
Raytheon supplies the Israeli air fore with guided air-to-surface missiles for its F-16 fleet, as well as cluster bombs, consistently used against Gaza’s civilian population and infrastructure. Raytheon’s guided missiles were used to ruthlessly level civilian-dense regions during Operation Cast Lead.