The Anti-Israel Divestment Campaign
How to Counter Divestment Campaigns
Posted: October 9, 2006
Divestment campaigns have been defeated on campus and in city councils due to effective counter-advocacy. For example, in the U.S. and in Europe, anti-Israel boycott campaigns, especially the initiative to sever academic ties with Israeli institutions, along with divestment campaigns, have sparked loud debate and met with significant and effective opposition.
Petitions in support of divesting from Israel, as well as petitions in support of an academic boycott of Israel, led to counter petitions that, in most cases, have gathered even more signatures. For example, while a pro-divestment petition drive in MIT and Harvard managed to collect 440 signatures, a counter-petition had the signatures of more than 2,500. A pro-divestment petition at Columbia University garnered 537 signatures, while a counter-petition collected 24,820 signatures.
The campaign to have various city councils and church groups divest from Israel or companies that do business with Israel have led to strong counter-efforts by local pro-Israel advocates and broad-based coalitions.
Here's what you can do to help counter anti-Israel divestment initiatives:
- Get involved – Speak up at a city council hearing, an interfaith dialogue, a campus meeting. Share your views of why divestment from Israel is wrong, and the analogy between Israel and apartheid South Africa is false.
- Develop materials on why divestment is wrong. Talking points are readily available. Share them with fellow advocates. Use them as the basis of your own personal advocacy, opinion pieces or letters to the editor. Shape them into a petition.
- Reach out to build a coalition against divestment efforts. Arrange a meeting with a local church group to explain the anti-divestment perspective. Call on local politicians, a college president, professors, labor leaders and business leaders to speak out against divestment.