In recent years, boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel and Israel-affiliated institutions have been launched at an increasing number of college campuses nationwide. Students and faculty on these campuses have circulated petitions and introduced resolutions promoting this campaign in an effort to demonize Israel and further propagate the alleged analogy between Israeli policies and apartheid South Africa.
While these efforts were first launched after the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel called for an international boycott against Israel in 2004, campus boycott and divestment efforts have heated up since the Gaza war in the winter of 2008-2009. In February 2009, for example, the Students for Justice in Palestine at HampshireCollege claimed victory after the college disinvested from a mutual fund with ties to Israel. The school has since clarified that it did not divest from Israel and that SJP mischaracterized the decision as a victory for the divestment movement.
Despite Hampshire's insistence that its action was unrelated to Israel, individuals and groups on campuses nationwide have used the attention garnered by the Hampshire effort to push forward their own divestment campaigns. Several other universities across the country have since launched initiatives to divest from Israel. In March 2010, the Associated Students at the University of California approved a resolution for the University of California, Berkeley, to divest from two companies because of its business dealings with Israel.
Punitive actions against Israel have been reinforced by the formation of new groups dedicated to promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) agendas. In some such cases, as with an academic boycott group called the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, these groups have gained support from some professors and other university faculty.
Calls for boycott and divestment from Israel have also been a recurring theme at rallies and demonstrations organized on campuses in response to Israel's winter offensive in Gaza.