Aletho News


Israel divestment narrowly fails at Stanford

The Stanford University undergraduate senate needed a two-thirds majority to approve a resolution calling on the school to “divest from companies violating human rights in occupied Palestine,”  and it came close: Nine in favor and five against, with one abstention.

But the 64% in favor vote, sponsored by Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine, a coalition of 19 campus organizations including the Black Student Union, MEChA, and Students for Justice in Palestine, wasn’t enough for passage of the resolution according to the Stanford Daily.

Updated Resolution 2/9/2015

A Resolution to Divest from Companies Violating Human Rights in Occupied Palestine

WHEREAS the Stanford University Code of Conduct states that all members of the Stanford University community “are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards of this institution, and of the broader community in which we function,[1]”

WHEREAS in managing university investments, Stanford University Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to consider both financial risk and “substantial social injury,” defined as “proximate corporate direct or indirect actions that cause injury to… individuals, or groups… [and] violat[e], subver[t], or frustrat[e] enforcement of rules of domestic or international law intended to protect individuals and/or groups against deprivation of health, safety, basic freedoms or human rights,”[2]

WHEREAS Stanford University has a rich history of calling for ethical oversight of its endowment as a non-violent strategy towards social change, which has included divestment from companies violating human rights in South Africa and Sudan, the adoption of criteria pertaining to conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and divestment from coal mining companies following last year’s fossil free divestment student campaign,

WHEREAS international humanitarian law recognizes the right of all people, including Israelis and Palestinians, to life, security[3] and self-determination[4],

WHEREAS Israel has been recognized by international law since 1967 as an occupying power in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza[5], hereafter referred to as the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

WHEREAS this resolution calls for targeted divestment from multinational corporations causing substantial social injury by violating international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, regardless of which countries contract said corporations,

WHEREAS multinational corporations disproportionately conduct business in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as compared to other conflict areas (e.g. Syria or North Korea), where binding law often prevents engagement with human rights violators,

WHEREAS many of the same companies profiting from human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories also profit from such violations against communities of color within the United States,[6]

WHEREAS Stanford’s May 2014 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings demonstrate past direct holdings in Raytheon and Eaton Corp[7], corporations that are implicated in such violations of international humanitarian law[8], suggesting that Stanford’s current and future investment portfolios are likely to include similar companies,

WHEREAS investment in these companies shows implicit support for such violations, and the only way to achieve financial neutrality is to end our investment in such companies,

WHEREAS selective divestment, as in the context of South Africa and Sudan, does not seek to determine a political solution nor target a particular ethnic or religious community, but rather the actions of a set of multinational corporations that facilitate human rights abuses and violations of international law,

WHEREAS our peers at many university student associations, including Wesleyan University, Oberlin College, DePaul University, Evergreen State College, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UCLA, and UC Davis have passed resolutions calling for divestment from companies that violate international law and human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

WHEREAS the petition asking Stanford’s Board of Trustees to selectively divest from companies that violate international law and human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been signed by over 1500 current students and 19 Stanford student groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Students for Alternatives to Militarism (SAM), the Asian American Student Association (AASA), MEChA de Stanford, Stanford National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Stanford NAACP), Black Student Union (BSU), Student And Labor Alliance (SALA), Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC), Muslim Students Awareness Network (MSAN), Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), Arab Students’ Association at Stanford (ASAS), First Generation Low Income Partnership (FLIP), International Socialist Organization at Stanford (ISO), Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL), Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO), Islamic Society of Stanford University (ISSU), Pakistanis at Stanford (PaS), Stanford University Students for  UNICEF (SUSU), and the Stanford Law School chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (SLS-NLG),

WHEREAS these companies’ actions affect the Stanford community directly, including students whose families live under occupation, and thus attend an institution complicit in violence against their own communities,

WHEREAS the Associated Students of Stanford University has been authorized “to exercise major privileges and responsibilities” with the express purpose of “[encouraging] responsible citizenship and the exercise of individual and corporate responsibility on the part of students,”[9]

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Associated Students of Stanford University Undergraduate Senate, exercising its representative authority on behalf of all undergraduates:

THAT the ASSU Undergraduate Senate calls upon the Stanford University Trustees to divest from companies that violate international humanitarian law by:

  1. Maintaining the illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation, in particular settlements and separation wall, which includes companies like Veolia Transdev and Elbit Systems[10]
  2. Facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, which includes companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Eaton Corp[11]
  3. Facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces, which includes companies like Combined Tactical Systems and G4S,[12]

THAT the ASSU Undergraduate Senate calls upon the Stanford University Trustees to withdraw investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in Veolia Transdev, Caterpillar, Raytheon, Eaton Corp, Lockheed Martin, Combined Tactical Systems, G4S, and all corporations that are similarly complicit in violating these criteria, at such time and in such manner as to be determined by the Board of Trustees with the goal of maintaining the divestment until they cease these specific practices deemed as unethical by the Stanford community,

THAT this is not a resolution concerning boycotts nor sanctions from any nation state,

THAT this resolution overrules the previous resolution UGS-W2013-10 that passed in the 14th  Undergraduate Senate,

LET IT FINALLY BE RESOLVED that the ASSU Undergraduate Senate, exercising its representative authority on behalf of all undergraduates, calls upon our university to affirm its commitment to justice for all people by divesting from companies implicated in our criteria for substantial social injury in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, many of which facilitate parallel injury against communities of color here in the United States.


[2] Stanford University’s Statement on Investment Responsibility


[4] UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, p. 171, available at:

[5] Geneva Convention, UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch;|outline

[6] See supplementary document.

[7] Stanford’s May 2014 SEC Filings:

[8] See supplementary document.

[9] The Constitution of of the Associated Students of Stanford University:,4.

[10] In violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See supplement.

[11] In violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See supplement.

[12] In violation of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See supplement.

Supplementary Document 
Background on our Criteria for Substantial Social Injury

February 14, 2015 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.