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University of Copenhagen to quit investments in Israeli-occupied territories

Protest action — The University of Copenhagen has listened to the protests and is now withdrawing its investments from companies operating in Israeli-occupied territories.

The University of Copenhagen will no longer invest in companies operating in the illegally occupied territories in the West Bank.

This is according to the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) on the social media X.

The university explains that the decision stems from »the reflections that the office of the rector has had on the basis of interviews with students and staff in connection with the conflict in Israel and Palestine.«

Since 6 May, pro-Palestinian students have been living in a tent camp on the university campus to protest against Israel’s campaign in Gaza and the UCPH investments in Israeli settlements.

The tent camp is organized by the association Students Against the Occupation, which has issued six demands that must be met before they want to leave the area.

One of the students’ demands is that UCPH should withdraw their investments from companies active in the illegal settlements.

READ ALSO: Camp at the University of Copenhagen. What are the facts?

The University of Copenhagen had decided to discontinue its negotiations with students in the tent camp after holding two dialogue meetings. This was a few days after a group of activists blockaded the rector’s office buildings on Frue Plads on 17 May.

Specifically, they are the three companies Airbnb, and the online travel company eDreams ODIGEO, in which UCPH has investments of approximately DKK 1 million. The companies are on the UN list of companies with activities in the illegally occupied territories of the West Bank.

READ ALSO: Expert: University of Copenhagen claims that it cannot avoid Israel assets ‘just a feeble excuse’

Students Against the Occupation: The protest works

The University Post has spoken to Asger Trier Kjær, who is one of the spokespersons from Student Against the Occupation. He says the UCPH announcement that the university will drop investments in companies on the UN list is a major victory.

»We are very pleased that UCPH is now starting to live up to these demands that we have had since 2021 without them doing anything. And we see that it is as a clear result from the pressure we have put on them with our camp, Rafah Garden, and also the information work we have done towards the rectorate and the public,« says Asger Trier Kjær and continues:

»This is testament to the usefulness of applying pressure in the way that we have done.«

Despite the fact that the University of Copenhagen has now met one of the students’ key demands, the tent camp is not packing up and leaving. According to Asger Trier Kjær, they are still far from their goal.

»But we now feel that we have momentum because we’ve found out that what we do is actually useful. So that has given us renewed determination and energy for these negotiations. So I think we’re even more energetic about trying to influence UCPH in the right direction,« he says.

You say that it has renewed your determination in the negotiations. But UCPH has broken off the negotiations with you. Do you have the impression that the university will resume this dialogue?

»We haven’t heard more from management yet, but I hope they will resume it. We have a lot to offer them, and we would very much like to enter into a dialogue,« says Asger Trier Kjær.

According to him, all six demands from the Students Against the Occupation are reasonable. But there is still room for negotiation within some of the demands so that a compromise can be reached.

»We would be sad to have to compromise on some of them. But we have to listen to what UCPH says. So far, they have just interrupted the negotiations and the conversation, and this is not how compromises are reached,« says Asger Trier Kjær.

The University Post has attempted in vain to get an interview with the management of the University of Copenhagen, but they will not comment on the issue.