TEMPE, AZ - The student body Arizona State University has become the latest Western institution to back divestment from companies involved with the Israeli army.
Arizona State University's student union unanimously passed a bill demanding the university divest from and blacklist companies that continue to provide the Israeli army with weapons and militarized equipment.
Among the companies that work with the Israeli army are Boeing, Motorola, United Technologies, Petrochina, Sinopec, and Alstom.
A statement from the university's student body said the decision was part of a wider movement to encourage Western companies to stop supporting the occupation of Palestinians.
"This announcement, coming on the last day of the 2012 school year, is another victory in the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel as well as other global solidarity movements calling for the end to human rights violations."
"Arizona State University, a university with an endowment of over $735 million, aspires to be the 'New American University' with globally engaged students. We, students, at ASU want our university to make socially responsible investment decisions; we also want ASU’s investments to reflect its values as an institution."
Omar Barghouti, a human rights activists and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, hailed the decision as the beginning of a wider anti-Israel campaign at U.S. universities.
"This qualitative BDS victory is truly inspiring as it opens the door to similar measures across U.S. and possibly European campuses," he said.
"As the BDS movement has shown in the cases of Veolia, Alstom, G4S and Adidas, the price of corporate complicity in Israel's grave and persistent violations of international law is steadily – and rapidly – going in one direction: upward."
The BDS campaign has been targeting institutions and companies directly involved with Israel's occupation, which what many activists consider as apartheid, for a number of years.
Inspired by the international boycott of apartheid in South Africa, BDS aims to mimic a similar worldwide movement to pressure the Jewish state to end its oppression of indigenous Palestinians.
Previously, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University have passed similar resolutions as have other universities and other organizations across the country. Even organizations from South Africa have supported BDS, citing similarities between the anti-apartheid movement there and the one that is ongoing against Israel’s occupation.
In April, the University of Massachusetts Boston Undergraduate Student Government unanimously passed a bill demanding that the UMass Foundation, the university’s investment fund, divest from Boeing and other companies profiting from war crimes and/or human rights violations.
The continued acts of protest and boycotting have led to a strong, highly-funded PR response from the upper levels of the Israeli government.