Oxford must cut all ties with ‘Israeli war machine,’ says university researcher | News

The University of Oxford must create full transparency on investments in any weapons companies, arms dealers or procurers, and divest from financial ties with corporations complicit in Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, according to a researcher at the university.

As a wave of pro-Palestine encampments spreads across campuses across the world, many academics have been raising their voices to demand that their universities divest and cut ties with Israel.

At Oxford, where students have set up an encampment for over a week now, some 500 faculty and staff members have expressed their support for the protesters and demanded that the university divest from Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza.

Rowan, a researcher at the university who wanted to use her first name, said faculty and staff have presented a letter to the administration outlining their demands.

These are separate from what the students are demanding, she clarified, but added that the academics do fully support the students.

“In terms of the demands … we all collectively, staff and students, want to reshape this university for the better to create a university of which we can be proud, and proud of its ethical stance in relation to the brutality that is happening in Gaza right now,” Rowan, a signatory to the letter, told Anadolu.

She said the university must not only divest from companies that are complicit in the war on Gaza, but also disclose its source of funding and investments.

“Chief among the demands is that the university divest from financial ties with corporations complicit in the Israeli war machine,” said Rowan, a researcher in medieval literature.

She said current information regarding the investments made by the Oxford University Endowment Management is “quite opaque.”

“We’re calling on Oxford to release and to disclose and create full transparency regarding investments in any arms corporations, arms dealers or procurers, and to overhaul those unethical investments once they’ve disclosed them,” she said.

– ‘Standing on the side of justice and a better world’

Rowan said they are also pushing for a boycott of Israeli universities for “as long as the apartheid and genocide” continues in Gaza, where Israel has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians and injured around 80,000 since last October.

Millions more are displaced in Gaza, facing famine and acute shortages of medical aid and other essentials.

Israel, which is facing a genocide case at the International Court of Justice for its assault on Gaza, has also laid waste to large swaths of the besieged enclave, devastating everything from housing to medical facilities, educational institutes, and all sorts of civic infrastructure.

Rebuilding the educational infrastructure is one of the demands put forward by Oxford academics, according to Rowan.

“We want the university to use its immense power, prestige and wealth to help rebuild education in Gaza, where as of now, there are no universities left standing,” she said.

On the global wave of pro-Palestine campus protests, she said Oxford’s students and academics are “absolutely … in solidarity with encampments from New York to Paris and beyond.”

“We also draw inspiration from those encampments and from the education that we have seen unfolding in those spaces. So, I think it is a relationship of solidarity,” she added.

Regarding the Oxford administration’s response, she said they have so far been supportive of peaceful protests such as the student-led encampment.

To a question about potential repercussions for protesters in their careers, Rowan said they are hoping that “no one who participates in this encampment will have their futures damaged because they were standing on the right side of history.”

“Unfortunately, we do know that it has happened in institutions, that academics have been fired for voicing solidarity with Palestine or put under suspension procedures,” she said.

“My hope is that the world will come to recognize that anyone doing that is standing on the side of justice and on the side of a better world.”

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