For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Ben Bienstock, browndivest@gmail.com, +1(917)304-0206, Tal Frieden, tal.frieden@gmail.com, +1(315)480-3976

Brown University Committee Votes to Divest from Companies "Facilitating Human Rights Violations in Palestine"

The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies voted 6-2-1 in favor of divestment.

WASHINGTON - On December 2nd, 2019, the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) at Brown University voted in favor of divestment from companies “facilitating human rights violations in Palestine.” The committee voted six in favor, with two alumni voting no, and one abstaining from the vote. 

The vote comes after eight months of deliberation, starting in April 2019, when 69% of student voters in a Brown undergraduate referendum voted in favor of the same motion. Following a statement by the Brown University president criticizing the referendum,   over 100 faculty members authored a letter in favor of the student referendum. Since then, members of the Brown Divest student coalition have presented their case to ACCRIP on multiple occasions, as have Brown Students for Israel. Brown Divest is a coalition of student groups including Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as other groups.

Brown Divest states: “We are elated that the University committee responsible for divestment has finally joined the calls for divestment from human rights violations in Palestine. Today, ACCRIP made Brown the first Ivy League University to officially call for divestment from companies that are facilitating the Occupation and its human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza. We look forward to other universities joining the movement for dignity and human rights for Palestinians. 

“Going forward, the Brown community expects the Brown Corporation to divest from companies facilitating human rights violations in Palestine, as demanded by Brown students, who voted for the University to divest, as has ACCRIP, the committee responsible for recommending University divestment.” 

One member of Brown University Divest said: "As a Palestinian student at Brown, I can't feel comfortable on this campus knowing that my university is literally profiting off the suffering of my family. When Brown invests in companies that provide materials that help demolish their houses and promote an apartheid regime against them, I cannot be silent about this. I cannot be complicit in the suffering of my very own family." 

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Tal Frieden, another member of Jewish Voice for Peace and Brown University Divest, said: “As Jews, as US citizens, as Brown students, and as people of conscience, it is our responsibility to speak up for Palestinian human rights and to denounce complicity in Palestinian suffering. We will continue to hold the University accountable to this vote.”

Background:

On December 2nd, nine members of ACCRIP met at Brown University and heard presentations from faculty opposed to divestment, as well as those in favor. After the presentations, a motion was put forth to vote on whether the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories constitutes social harm. Seven members voted yes, while two alumni abstained. At the end of the meeting, members of the committee motioned to vote on the following language:

“We recommend that the Brown Corporation exclude from Brown's direct investments, and require Brown's separate account investment managers to exclude from their direct investments, companies identified as facilitating human rights violations in Palestine. In addition, the Investment Office will share with all investment managers the University’s desire to adhere to this investment philosophy. We recommend that the Corporation and Brown’s separate account investment managers maintain the withdrawal of investments from said companies until they cease to engage in social harm”

For the final vote on divestment, six members voted in favor, two opposed, and one abstained. Companies that have been identified for divestment based on their involvement in social harm in Palestine include Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, Oaktree Capital Management, AB Volvo, Motorola, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, United Technologies, and G4S.

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Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.

JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.

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