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British universities invest millions in companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, research reveals

Palestine Solidarity Campaign's study comes as lecturers across the country strike against pay cuts, growing workloads, the gender pay gap and attacks on their pensions

BRITISH universities have sufficient funds to pour millions into companies complicit in violations of Palestinian rights but not to pay their staff a decent wage, it was revealed today.

Damning research by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) shows that universities invest an estimated £450 million in companies with links to Israeli apartheid.

This includes investments in firms that supply weapons and technology to the Israeli military.

The shocking findings come from data obtained through freedom of information requests, which PSC used to determine the investments of 44 universities.

Among the dodgy deals revealed was a £734,000 investment by the University of Manchester in Caterpillar, a company that supplies weaponised bulldozers used by Israel to demolish Palestinian homes.

Actions took place on university campuses today, including at Leicester and Leeds Beckett, with students demanding their institutions divest from such companies.

King’s College London Action Palestine president Mohammed Ali said he was “disgusted” to learn of his university’s £2.3m investments in companies complicit in Israeli apartheid.

Oxford and Cambridge were revealed as the top investors, pouring £130m and £122m respectively into companies complicit in Israeli atrocities, according to estimates by the PSC.

Last year Cambridge students called on the university to cease its partnership with Caterpillar and BAE Systems, maintained through the Cambridge Service Alliance.

PSC campaigns officer Huda Ammori said that it was “shocking” that British universities continue to “fuel Israel’s human rights abuses by investing in such companies.”

She said: “Israel’s well-documented oppression of the Palestinian people, amounting to the crime of apartheid under international law, can only be maintained because companies continue to provide weapons and other support to the Israeli military and to invest in Israel’s illegal settlement industry.”

PSC’s research comes as lecturers across 60 universities entered a third day of strike action over pensions, pay and conditions.

The University and College Union said its members had resorted to strikes after reaching “breaking point” over unmanageable workloads, real-terms cuts in pay, a 15 per cent gender pay gap and changes to pensions that will leave staff worse off.

In solidarity with their teachers, 40 students at the University of Edinburgh occupied a 14-storey building in the middle of the campus early on Tuesday morning.

The students continued to occupy the David Hume Tower today.

In a statement, the students said they would call off the occupation if university bosses meet the demands of strikers, including ending the casualisation of staff.

“We are here, as students, to express that we will no longer except the further marketisation and commodification of education and teaching,” the occupiers said.

“We contest the working conditions, employment contracts and university policies that teachers must endure.”

The University of Edinburgh is also on PSC’s University Complicity Database, having invested over £7m in companies involved in the violation of human rights.

This includes a £4.8m investment in Microsoft, which earlier this year funded an Israeli facial-recognition firm that targets Palestinians in the West Bank.

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