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Harvard Graduate Union’s BDS Caucus Circulates Letter Calling for Divestment From Israel

The Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers' Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Caucus circulated a letter calling on the University to divest from Israel.
The Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers' Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Caucus circulated a letter calling on the University to divest from Israel. By Frank S. Zhou
By Aran Sonnad-Joshi and Sheerea X. Yu, Crimson Staff Writers

The Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers’ Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Caucus circulated a letter earlier this month calling on Harvard to investigate and divest from “companies and institutions involved in the ongoing attacks in Gaza.”

The letter says signees are “concerned that Harvard’s investments and institutional ties have rendered the University materially complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” calling on the University to “conduct an inquiry into investments in companies and ties with institutions profiting from the ongoing attacks in Gaza, to disclose these ties publicly, and to divest from them immediately.”

As of Wednesday evening, the letter has garnered 576 individual signatories and is endorsed by 20 Harvard organizations, including other unions.

The circulation of the letter comes after the Harvard Law School Student Government and Harvard Divinity School Student Association passed resolutions calling for Harvard to divest from illegal settlements in Palestine.

A HGSU-UAW BDS Caucus spokesperson said in an interview that “while HGSU-BDS members helped write this letter, this is very much a University-wide effort and not a campaign inclusive to the caucus.”

The letter cites Harvard’s previous divestments from “companies selling products to the South African military,” tobacco stocks, and the fossil fuel industry. It also cites an article in The Crimson, which reported that the Harvard Management Company still held “nearly 200 million in companies tied to Israeli settlements in Palestine.”

In response to a request for comment, Harvard spokesperson Jason A. Newton pointed to a previous statement in response to both the HLS Student Government and HDS School Student Association resolutions.

“Harvard leadership has made clear that it opposes calls for a policy of boycotting Israel and its academic institutions,” Newton wrote at the time.

The HGSU-UAW’s BDS Caucus is an unaffiliated caucus not officially affiliated with HGSU-UAW, but all caucus members are members of the broader union.

The HGSU-UAW BDS spokesperson said the caucus’ “connection to labor is quite simple.”

“We don’t want to be paid with the profits of investments in Israeli apartheid, occupation and genocide,” the spokesperson said. “We don’t want our scholarship, labor, and research to be used in the service of Israeli apartheid, occupation and genocide.”

“We don’t want our workplace, Harvard, to lend its name, reputation, legitimacy and resources to the actions of Israeli institutions involved in the destruction of the Palestinian people,” they added.

According to the HGSU-UAW’s BDS Caucus spokesperson, the campaign is still in its early stages.

The caucus is not planning to deliver the letter to Harvard administrators “until it reaches a minimum of 1,000 signatures,” they said.

—Staff writer Aran Sonnad-Joshi can be reached at Follow him on X @asonnadjoshi.

—Staff writer Sheerea X. Yu can be reached at Follow her on X @_shuhree_.

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