Leeds Uni denies it ended investment in companies because of ties to Israeli military
They’ve hit back at claims made by the Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group
The University of Leeds has denied claims it ended investments in three organisations because they supply equipment to the Israeli military.
Leeds students held a protest to boycott the campaign and announced it had been successful, claiming the divestment as a victory.
A Leeds spokesperson said the action was taken because of their recently adopted "climate active strategy, the purpose of which is to drive behavioural change supporting decarbonisation via a combination of divestments and engagement."
An open letter to the Vice Chancellor, Alan Langlands, was signed by over 460 students, staff, societies and alumni, after it was revealed that Leeds had invested a combined total of £2,352,563 in four companies who were associated "with the violation of Palestinians’ human rights. Airbus, United Technology, Keyence Corporation and HSBC".
A spokesperson for the university revealed they have withdrawn investment from three of the four companies, whilst HSBC is "currently under monitoring and in dialogue with the university’s investment managers".
The letter called for Leeds to immediately withdraw from the companies and followed in the footsteps of a student run protest, organised by The Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group earlier in May this year. In response to the news of the group's success, Co-President, Evie Russell-Cohen said: "It’s clear that the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is being heard in the UK. Students are no longer willing to see their tuition fees funding weapons companies which profit from the killing of Palestinians.
"This is a massive success, but we hope that it will only be the beginning of a wave change across UK Universities. Our education can no longer be at the expense of human life”.
A member of the Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group, Yousef Abdel Fattah, who is a Palestinian student studying in Leeds also said: "Palestinian students on campuses, like myself, have to live with the knowledge that our tuition fees are invested in companies manufacturing the same weapons used in violence against our loved ones.
"This great display of solidarity from students, societies, and staff shown in Leeds has dispelled any idea that Palestinian students are alone when speaking out for our human rights. We hope all UK universities heed our call and divest just like they did with apartheid South Africa in the 1980s."