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In first, UK university divests from firms supplying Israel army

Students hold a protest calling for an end of Israel’s occupation on Gaza at Leeds University, UK on 5 May 2018
MEMO | November 5, 2018

In the first move of its kind, a UK university has divested from companies that supply military equipment to the Israeli army following a student campaign.

The University of Leeds this weekend made the decision to divest from three companies which were found to be complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights: Airbus, United Technologies and Keyence Corporation. A fourth company – HSBC – is also under review by the university’s investment managers for its provision of loans to Elbit Systems, Caterpillar and BAE Systems, all of which sell weapons and military equipment to the Israeli government.

The move came after it emerged that the University of Leeds had invested £2.4 million ($3.1 million) in these companies this year alone. The sum was revealed by a Freedom of Information request dating back to August, under which the British public can demand access to information held by public authorities.

Students, staff, societies and alumni of the university then published an open letter to the Vice Chancellor calling for the cessation of investment in the four firms. The letter stated that: “In summer 2014, 2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 526 children, by the Israeli Defence Force in the attacks on Gaza […] the artillery used to carry out this destruction were made by Elbit Systems, funded by HSBC. The fighter jets employed by the IDF were maintained by United Technologies. The helicopters which patrol Gaza’s sea border are supplied by Airbus. Further military activity was aided by the equipment provided by Keyence Corporation. The University of Leeds knowingly enables this activity by investing in these companies.”

Our university should not enable military occupation. Our tuition fees should not fund killing. Our education should not be at the expense of a person’s life.

The move has been hailed as a victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Co-President of the Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group, Evie Russell-Cohen, explained: “It’s clear that the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is being heard in the UK. Students are no longer willing to see their tuition fees funding weapons companies which profit from the killing of Palestinians. This is a massive success, but we hope that it will only be the beginning of a wave change across UK Universities.”

Calls for UK universities to review their investments in companies known to assist the Israeli army have been growing in recent months. In April, activists at the University of Manchester exposed a web of connections between the university and several weapons companies, including Israel Aerospace Industries which produced drones used during Israel’s 2014 assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. The University of Manchester had previously tried to conceal its links to such companies until the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the body regulating data protection in the UK – found the university to be in contravention of the Freedom of Information Act, the same act which enabled University of Leeds students to force their institution to divest.

November 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran announces sanctions on 15 US companies

Press TV – March 26, 2017

Iran has announced retaliatory sanctions on 15 American companies over their support for Israeli crimes and terrorism two days after Washington imposed bans on nearly a dozen foreign companies or individuals for aiding the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that these companies have directly and/or indirectly collaborated with the Israeli regime in committing its savage crimes in occupied Palestine, thrown their weight behind the regime’s terrorist acts or contributed to the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories in flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

Therefore, any transactions with these companies and businesses shall be prohibited, their assets shall be subject to freezing, and no visas shall be issued for individuals holding positions in or associated with these corporations, the statement further noted.

The ministry also said Washington’s unilateral bans were imposed on Tehran “under fabricated pretexts,” censuring the restrictive measures as a violation of “international law” as well as the spirit and text of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

On Friday, the US State Department said Washington had sanctioned 30 foreign companies or individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its missile program or violating export controls on Iran, North Korea and Syria.

The statement further emphasized Iran’s resolve to develop its peaceful missile power as part of the nation’s “inalienable” right to enhance its deterrence and defense might in the face of threats.

The US sanctions targeted 11 companies or individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates for transferring technology to Iran that it claimed could boost the country’s ballistic missile program.

Here is the list of the sanctioned US corporations:

Beni Tal security company has collaborated with the Israeli military in the suppression of Palestinian people.

United Technologies has sold Black Hawk military helicopters to the Israeli regime which have been used to bomb occupied territories and Palestinian refugee camps.

Raytheon has supplied Israel with technologically advanced military weapons that have been used against Palestinian people during the Gaza war.

ITT Corporation has provided the Israeli military with equipment it has used to stage nightly raids in Palestinian villages and refugee camps.

Re/Max has been involved in illegal real estate transactions in Israeli settlements across occupied Palestinian territories.

Oshkosh Corporation has been supplying the Israeli military with parts for armored vehicles used to restrain the Palestinian population.

Magnum Research Inc. has collaborated with Israeli military industries in the manufacturing of firearms and military equipment.

Kahr Arms has provided spare parts and developed light weapons used by the Israeli army in cooperation with the regime’s military industry.

M7 Aerospace LP, purchased by US subsidiary of the Israeli military contractor Elbit Systems, has been active in the production and development of Israeli radar and missile systems.

Military Armament Corporation has provided services and equipment linked to the weapons used by Israeli police.

Lewis Machine and Tool Company has provided weapons spare parts and services to the Israeli military’s arms industry.

Daniel Defense has provided the Israeli military’s arms industry with spare parts and services for weapons manufacturing.

Bushmaster Firearms International has provided the Israeli military’s arms industry with spare parts and services for weapons manufacturing.

O.F. Mossberg & Sons has supplied Israel with weapons, which are used by the regime’s military and police forces in the crackdown on Palestinian civilians.

H-S Precision, Inc. has provided the Israeli regime with weapons manufacturing technology.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry stated that the list could expand to include more entities.

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments