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Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) welcomes and supports renewed student protests against the Gaza genocide and UK university links to Israel

  • Today [01.05.24], students from Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield have joined Warwick demanding that our universities stop investing in Israel’s genocide
  • PSC’s research has found that UK Universities collectively invest nearly £430m in companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law
  • University of York has recently confirmed it no longer holds any investments in companies that primarily make or sell weapons.

UK students have been taking an active role in the seven months of mass protest against Israel’s genocide in Gaza. More than 34 000 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 14 500 children and young people. Most of Gaza’s education services, from nurseries to universities, have been deliberately destroyed during Israel’s bombardments.

With the wave of US university protests creating headlines around the world, several student Palestine solidarity groups in the UK have begun setting up encampments on campuses, with more expected to follow suit. Warwick students have been camped out since last week and today Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield have followed suit. Earlier this year, students at multiple universities occupied university buildings, with divestment as a central demand. Goldsmiths and UCL were both in occupation for over a month starting in February; Leeds for 15 days, Bristol for 4 weeks, and Nottingham for a week.

PSC has a long running campaign called “Apartheid Off Campus” which has detailed how university investments in corporations have led to them being complicit in Israel’s repeated violations of international law. Our database revealed nearly £430 million of investments in complicit companies. Many universities also have academic partnerships with Israeli universities that are themselves deeply involved in Israeli military technology and the occupation of Palestinian territory. PSC works with students to organise for divestment and disengagement from Israel’s war machine.

Just last month, student campaigning at the University of York revealed that the University had dropped its investments in Cisco Systems and Smiths Group and that it no longer holds any investments in companies that primarily make or sell weapons.

Ben Jamal, PSC Director, said : 

“Students have been at the forefront of many progressive campaigns from the civil rights and Vietnam War era to the present moment in which Israel is conducting a genocide in front of our eyes. We cannot allow that to happen with the complicity of UK universities who are investing in the companies that supply Israel’s genocidal violence.

Students have been forced into taking this action by repeated attempts to silence those speaking up for Palestinian human rights on campus. Encouraged by the government, British universities have become a repressive environment for Palestinians and others calling for their rights to be upheld, characterised by extraordinary restrictions on their academic freedom of expression and arising from an illegitimate conflation of antisemitism with legitimate advocacy for Palestinian rights .

We salute all those students taking a stand and demanding an end to UK complicity. They have the moral clarity and ethical principles so lacking in our university administrators and political leaders. We welcome the University of York’s decision to end investments in arms companies and hope other universities will follow suit.”