UK university divests from Israel-linked arms companies following pressure

UK university divests from Israel-linked arms companies following pressure
The University of York has been forced to divest from weapons and arms manufacturers tied to Israel after a series of protests from a student-led coalition.
2 min read
27 April, 2024
Pro-Palestinian students protest behind a banner outside the Department for Education in the UK {GETTY}

A university in the United Kingdom has stopped its investments in weapons and arms manufacturers tied to Israel following prolonged pressure from its students and staff.

The University of York confirmed tha it has divested from arms companies linked to Israel following protests, rallies, marches and action from the institution’s student-led coalition.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the biggest UK organisation for Palestinian rights, and the University of York Palestinian Solidarity Society announced the news on Saturday in a joint Instagram post.

“After prolonged protests, rally's, marches and direct action by students, the University of York has been forced to complete full divestment from weapons and arms manufacturers and announced this through a public statement on 11th of April 2024,” the post said, adding that they will continue with their campaign to hold the university to account and call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

According to PSC’s research, a freedom of information request revealed that the university has invested a total of £33,251 into two tech companies, Cisco Systems and Smiths Group.

PSC says Cisco design technologies used by Israel to facilitate its occupation of Palestinian territories. Smiths Group applied for 32 arms export licenses to Israel to the British government and has supplied many components to the F-35 Lightning programme, which has been used in Israel’s 2021 strikes on Gaza.

Student-led protests

The UK is currently witnessing a wave of protests on university campuses nationwide following similar actions in the United States.


A post shared by UOY Palsoc (@uoypalsoc)

Students from the University of Warwick set up an encampment in its piazza on Friday, calling for the institution to divest from companies they say are linked to Israel’s war on Gaza. At University College London, students staged a rally calling for a free Palestine and an end to the occupation.

PSC found that UK Universities collectively invest over £420 million in companies linked to Israel’s violations of international law.

Its current bombardment on Gaza has killed over 34,000 Palestinian civilians and injured over 77,000.