March 01, 2009

Welsh university divests from arms suppliers to Israel

A great big mazel tov to students at Cardiff Uni in Wales; the university divested from BAE Systems & General Electric, both of which supply weapons to Israel. From the campaigners' blog, Feb. 26:

Victory for Cardiff Student Occupiers!

The occupation of Cardiff University has ended with success as Cardiff University acceded to the occupiers’ key demand – to divest from the arms trade. Cardiff University have given students written confirmation that they have divested from the arms trade and have instructed fund managers not to reinvest.

The occupation will end at 4pm today with the mass of students walking out together waving occupation banners and chanting ‘Free, Free, Palestine’. They then held a ‘Books not Bombs’ rally as they marched around campus declaring their success.

The victory comes after three days of occupation which has made students across the campus aware of the £209, 000 worth of shares which, until yesterday, Cardiff University held in the arms trade. This included BAE Systems and General Electric who supplied Israel with weapons used in the recent attacks on Gaza.

The Cardiff Occupation, organised by Cardiff Students Against War, was in opposition to the University’s investment in the arms trade and to the atrocities committed in Gaza, where 1.4 million Palestinians are blockaded in a semi-autonomous apartheid state.

The occupation has been inundated with messages of support including most notably one from Noam Chomsky:

I am very pleased to learn about the courageous and honourable actions of the Cardiff University students. These are particularly significant because of Britain's role in arms sales generally, and it's contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza and on the occupied territories generally, second only to the decisive role of the United States -- a disgrace for all of us. I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these crimes to an end.

The action at Cardiff is the twenty-eighth UK student occupation to have taken place in the last few weeks. This unprecedented wave of student dissent has seen many university’s capitulating to demands. The Cardiff activists hope their success will inspire other students to hold occupations on their own campuses.


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