The Haverford Campaign Calls for Divestment from Israel

By Nathan Karnovsky [Bi-College News] 24 February 2009 – “Do you notice that, even among educated people, there is general recognition of the fact that the modern state of Israel was founded as a symbol of the suffering of humanity…but almost no awareness that this has been at the expense of another people who were innocent of guilt?”

These are the words of Harry Saul, a member of Haverford College”s Class of 1972.

Saul is a member of a group of Haverford alumni that have started The Haverford Campaign, at The Campaign calls upon Haverford to divest fully from any entity that contributes to or supports what he calls “the apartheid” in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel.

Saul was inspired to start this campaign by his son, a member of the Students for Justice in Palestine group at Hampshire College, who recently helped convince the school”s administration to completely divest.

“The goals of the campaign are twofold,” Saul said. “First to get the college to completely divest…second…to [help in] raising awareness.”

According to Saul, one of the major challenges is educating people about the role that the United States plays in the conflict.

“People in this country need to first know about what their government is doing,” said Saul. “There is little awareness that the weapons…being used to inflict suffering…are made by American companies and largely paid for by people living in the United States.”

Although as Saul acknowledges, “it is notoriously difficult to get information about investments from private colleges,” he is confident that Haverford must be investing in at least some of the companies that provide support to Israel.

Saul cites Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex as a handful of the major companies that must be divested from.

When asked about his use of the word “apartheid” to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Saul responded that the accounts of the fighting reminded him of colonial war.

“It was more like reports I”ve read about the British circling and killing basically defenseless aborigines in Australia,” he said.

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