Guest Commentary: Students for Justice in Palestine

BY MERYEM KAMIL

Students for Justice in Palestine

What is divestment?
     Divestment refers to taking out current investments from a company, in our case for ethical reasons.
Why UCSD?
      This resolution seeks to continue the university’s push for corporate responsibility by advocating for social sustainability. We, as socially-conscious UCSD students, are fundamentally against our institution’s support of a company that profits off of violence.
Why does the proposed resolution target GE and Northrop Grumman?
     Both companies produce parts of Apache helicopters used by the Israeli Defense Forces against Palestinians, documented by Amnesty International.
Why this conflict?
     As an organization that specializes in the region, it is only logical that SJP would focus on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Additionally, the conflict gives context to the detrimental business practices of GE and Northrop Grumman.
Does this resolution advocate for the sweeping divestment of the State of Israel?
     No, we are looking at U.S. companies that profit from violent conflict and occupation.
Is this resolution anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian?
     Because our university is invested asymmetrically in an ongoing violent conflict, we already as an institution are choosing to support one side over another. This resolution seeks to do away with the binary of pro-Israeli/pro-Palestinian by focusing on what we can agree on: the need for peace. By removing investments from companies who assist in perpetuating the violence in the area, we are setting up a forum where peace is achievable.
If A.S. Council at UCSD recommends the divestment of these companies, what will we invest in instead?
We look forward to creating a coalition of students on campus that researches companies with a stake in social responsibility.
How is UCSD invested in these companies?

The UC Retirement and Endowment Funds are invested in indexes. The Russel 3000 index includes GE and Northrop Grumman. Investments can be personalized to include and exclude whichever companies the investor wants.
Isn’t investing in these companies profitable?

GE is less than 1 percent value of all the stocks in the U.S.A., financially $210 billion out of $25 trillion. Furthermore, we invest globally and U.S.A. is only 35 percent of the global market, so GE comes out to even less than 0.3 percent of the global market. Northrup Grumman is less than 0.1 percent of U.S. value, or $18 billion out of $25 trillion. Divesting from these companies is not difficult to do. There are over 5,000 companies that can be invested in the U.S. GE and Northrop Grumman are not our only options.
What percentage of these companies’ profits come from weaponry sold that perpetuates the conflict?
About 4 percent of GE’s sales is from weapons and military equipment, and only a portion of that goes to Israeli military, while Northrop Grumman is a military equipment company. It doesn’t matter how much of their profits are involved in violence, it’s a statement against violence. 

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