Students in Manchester demanded that the city’s universities pull investments from fossil fuels and companies whose products are used by the Israeli army.
Students from University of Manchester’s Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and People and Planet society collectively demanded that the University divests from all companies that benefit from what they refer to as Israeli ‘war crimes’ as part of a National Day of Action for Divestment.
The group says higher education institutions should divest in companies such as Caterpillar, which develops armored bulldozers for the Israeli army. The groups argue such bulldozers are used to destroy Palestinian homes, olive groves, and schools in occupied territories.
Protester Jessie Kenz said: “Our tuition fees go directly into something like Caterpillar who actually provide the bulldozers which are ripping down most of Gaza.
“The University is also investing in fossil fuels which is completely unsustainable and dated and Nancy Rothwell, our executive, does not seem to be acting on this at all, in fact she actually has quite close relations to the Israeli government.
“We’ve had enough, enough deaths in our name.
“A lot of the skills that are used to create weapons can be transferred into renewable energy creating far more jobs and creating far more profit.
“We should find areas of profit that benefit people not that directly kill people.
As part of the protest the students initially met at All Saints Park before marching to the board of governor’s meeting at Manchester’s Whitworth Arch.
This protest is part of a larger nationwide campaign including Fossil Fuel UCL, Cambridge Zero Carbon Society, UEA People & Planet, Leeds University Fossil Free, Longborough People & Planet and Fossil Free – University of Bristol as part of #APARTHEIDOFFCAMPUS.
Another controversial step UoM has taken to support Israel is through a shrine to the country’s first president Chaim Azriel Weizman in the University’s chemistry building.
Weizmann was a former chemist at the University before using his method to derive acetone from maize, in order to create artillery shells, and assist in the colonialism of Palestine before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. This information is sourced from TheNewArab.
— Bradley Cassidy (@bradcassidy170) November 23, 2017
President and Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell also controversially invited Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosdor to the University in 2011.
She didn’t announce he was coming until 36 hours prior however leading students to question her link with Israel and her lack of support to Palestine.
Wider issues such as the government making £10bn in the arms industry in just 5 years between 2010 – 2015 was also seen as a huge issue from protesters.