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Statement from Hillel

Hillel Praises Hampshire Clarification
February 24, 2009

Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone today praised Hampshire College for its clear and unambiguous statement that the university did not divest from Israel or take action because of Israel's relationship with the Palestinians or its presence on the West Bank.

Firestone said: “The Hampshire College clarification underscores the fact that the divestment movement is illegitimate, unconstructive, and detrimental to a secure, thriving Israel and regional peace. Hampshire College’s decision to retain investments in Israeli companies and those doing business with Israel is a clear vote of confidence in Israel and should be an example to other universities.”

Hampshire College recently voted to divest from the State Street SSgA Fund after an internal review board concluded that companies in the fund violated the school’s socially responsible investment standards. In an open letter to Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz,  Hampshire College President Ralph J. Hexter and Chair of the Board of Trustees Sigmund Roos wrote: “this review did not include Israel, its interaction with the Palestinians, nor its presence on the West Bank as tests for the stocks in this fund. Moreover, Hampshire currently holds investments in funds that include many hundreds of companies that do business in Israel and in at least three actual Israeli companies: Amdocs, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Check Point Software. No other college or university should use Hampshire as a precedent for divesting from Israel, since Hampshire has refused to divest from Israel. Anyone who claims otherwise is deliberately misrepresenting Hampshire’s decision and has no right to speak for the college.”

In response, Dershowitz concluded that "Hampshire has now done the right thing.  It has made it unequivocally clear that it did not and will not divest from Israel.”

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