US Mennonite students push for divestment from Israeli occupation

By staff writers
November 15, 2010

Eastern Mennonite University students are pushing their institution for divestment from companies supporting Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands.

On 12 November 2010, Students for Morally Responsible Investment (SMRI) presented their case against EMU's investment in businesses which help fund or further oppression in Israel-Palestine.

Leaders of SMRI have now met with Everence (a Mennonite financial institution), Mennonite Educational Agency (MEA) and the EMU administration, seeking a change of policy.

They say they are hopeful about progress made at the meetings - including the Financial and Audit Committee of EMU last week.

"The presence of 35 EMU students right outside of the meeting room, sitting in vigil, in solidarity, and in support, was amazing to see," said senior (final year student) Jessica Sarriot.

"Clearly, implementing more just economic involvement in Israel/Palestine is something many people at EMU care deeply about. I think the understanding of divestment as 'do no harm' goes a long way in explaining its support here," she added.

SMRI sees this as an issue that does not stop at EMU, but affects the greater community and Mennonite Church in the USA.

Senior Mark Fenton also spoke of the complexities involved in being "true to our identity as a Mennonite institution - a peace church - and having integrity about our identity."


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