Yale is Complicit

Yale's ties to Israel's genocidal war on Gaza are deeper than you think.

U.S.-Israeli Police Exchanges

For decades U.S. law enforcement officers like our own Yale Police Chief Anthony Campbell have traveled to Israel to observe Israeli techniques for surveilling and incarcerating Palestinians. These exchanges have frequently been facilitated by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s (JINSA) Homeland Security Program. JINSAs exchanges were produced in response to 9/11, as the U.S. carceral state reoriented itself towards the new ‘threat’ of Muslims and Arabs. Endorsed by national U.S. police organizations, JINSA’s exchanges have brought thousands of American cops to Israel to study with the Israeli military and police. Steven L. Pomerantz, a retired FBI agent whose career began with the Bureau’s COINTELPRO effort against the Black Panthers, has led the JINSA program since its inception.The state of Georgia is a leader in bringing Israeli tactics to the U.S. through its Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), a state-funded program within Georgia State University. Through GILEE over 33,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have visited Israel to train. The city of Atlanta’s Video Integration Center, a Minority Report-style effort to integrate all municipal CCTV systems into one police surveillance hub, was explicitly “modeled after the [Israeli] command and control center in the Old City of Jerusalem” following a visit by Atlanta’s police chief.

In Connecticut, officers from Stamford, New Haven, and Yale have received similar Israeli training. New Haven’s former police chief attended a JINSA exchange in 2013, and current Yale Police Department chief Anthony Campbell participated in an Anti-Defamation League sponsored “National Counter-Terrorism Seminar” in the summer of 2018. Chief Campbell was said to have encountered “a whole new level of training from the Israeli police.” Campbell, then Chief of the New Haven Police Department, received “briefings, presentations, and site visits” to “gain a deeper understanding of Israel’s approach to fighting terrorism” like the tactics currently on display in Gaza. Chief Campbell later told reporters that the training was "by far one of the most profound and life changing experiences I've ever had," and that “every police chief in the country should have to take this counterterrorism seminar[.]" You can follow Chief Campbell’s day-to-day itinerary here.

Yale Funds Genocide

Yale Prohibits Investing in "Social Injury"

The Yale Corporation adopted the principles of The Ethical Investor in 1972 which prohibits investments in corporations whose activities “violate, or frustrate enforcement of, rules of domestic or international law intended to protect health, safety, or basic freedoms.” On these grounds, the Yale Corporation committed to divesting from companies that profited from South African apartheid in 1978, fully doing so only in the early 1990’s as a result of a long campaign by students, as well as oil corporations whose revenue aided the Sudanese government in the Darfur genocide in 2006. Yet it makes an exception for Palestine by refusing to divest from corporations that profit from Israeli apartheid, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the genocide of Palestinians—all which flagrantly violate international law.

Yale’s Endowment Managers Invest in Genocide

Routed through scores of shell companies, the University keeps its $40.7 billion endowment away from anything resembling light and truth. It’s scrupulous, though, in picking the best investment managers in the game—if the game is investing in Israeli settlement infrastructure and weapons manufacturing. Per its latest tax filings, $1,307,102,382 of Yale’s endowment is managed by Farallon Capital Management, alongside another $341,684,738 in the care of Freshford Capital Management. Today, Farallon’s warfare investments include shares of Aerojet Rocketdyne, an engine manufacturer named “crucial to the defense of Israel,” and Howmet Manufacturing which boasts online about producing the “backbone” for F-35 fighter jets used to attack Gaza. Freshford’s investment strategy includes holding shares in contractor KBR, a close partner of IDF defense firm Elbit Systems.Propping up colonialism isn’t new for Yale’s endowment. In 2017, several of Yale’s investment managers held billions of dollars in Puerto Rican debt, letting Yale “profit off of the crisis” on the island in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. After Yalies organized the Endowment Justice Coalition and demanded that Yale’s managers cancel the debt, firms like the Baupost Group abandoned their holdings. Baupost, which holds about $734,439,936 of Yale’s endowment, didn’t divest from colonialism; they moved elsewhere. In early 2023, Baupost bought nearly 4 million shares of Altice USA, a company whose European analogue provides television and mobile service for settlers in the occupied West Bank. Through the Klarman Family Foundation, Baupost’s CEO Seth Klarman also funds a host of Zionist foundations like the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, JINSA, and the settler association Friends of Ir David.

Yale Indirectly Invests in Companies Complicit in Occupation and Genocide

For the share of the endowment Yale reserves to invest by itself, it places $642,222 in ITOT, a stock market ETF that tracks America’s largest businesses. Scores of those companies are complicit in Israel’s occupation and genocide of Palestinians. Five companies—Lockheed Martin, RTX (Raytheon), Boeing, L3 Harris, and Northrop Grumman—make the bombs, planes, and weapons used to carry out Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on Gaza. Eight are key targets of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign including Caterpillar whose bulldozers are used by the IDF to demolish Palestinian homes and attack children. Six have been linked by the United Nations to materially or financially supporting illegal Israeli settlements. Technology companies like Dell, Microsoft, and IBM enable Israel’s repressive surveillance state, detention system, and Palestinian population registry. And a host of others have fueled IDF aircraft, produced settlers’ energy infrastructure, and planned hotels on occupied Palestinian land.With 18.56% of ITOT invested in companies that aid Israel’s colonial project, at least $119,000 of Yale’s endowment—and likely unknown billions more managed by secretive firms using shell companies—finances businesses complicit in occupation and genocide.

Yale’s Retirement Fund Invests in Genocide

TIAA-CREF, the retirement fund for Yale faculty and staff, invests millions of dollars into various companies arming and supporting the current genocide in Gaza, and the Israeli apartheid system as a whole.In 2013, students at Yale launched a campaign to pressure TIAA-CREF to divest their funds from companies that directly profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, following a successful campaign by NYU faculty which resulted in TIAA-CREF divesting from Caterpillar. However, the school still relies on TIAA-CREF, funneling the savings of its faculty and staff into the Israeli war machine and apartheid system.Here are some of the examples of the companies that TIAA-CREF still invests in:

Elbit Systems and Motorola Solutions

TIAA-CREF has invested 1.7 million dollars into Elbit Systems, the largest Israeli arms manufacturer and the material backbone of the Israeli Defense Forces. In 2021, nearly 20% of Elbit’s revenue came from procurement contracts with the Israeli military. Elbit Systems supplies the IDF with two of the three drones in its fleet: the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900. Armed Elbit drones are being used in the cruel aerial bombardment on Gaza, attacks in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank and have previously been used by the IDF in bombing campaigns in Syria and Lebanon. The Israeli Government also contracted Elbit Systems to build and operate the Apartheid walls in the West Bank and Gaza and provide associated military surveillance systems.TIAA-CREF has 37,857 shares in Motorola Solutions, Inc., valued at $10,850,951. In 2014, Motorola received a contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense to be the sole provider of the 4G network for the Israeli Military, and has supplied military smartphone devices to the IDF since 2016. Motorola also provides communications services to the Israeli Police, Ministry of National Security, the Israeli Prison Service, and to illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank. Motorola also helps to maintain systems of surveillance in Israeli checkpoints throughout the West Bank, and is the supplier of communications radios for the Supervision Unit of the Civil Administration, which is “in charge of enforcement and security legislation of Israeli military law in the occupied West Bank.”

Northrop Grumman and Boeing

TIAA-CREF has 32,136 shares in Northrop Grumman, valued at roughly $14,000,000. Northrop Grumman manufactures weapons systems and radar for the Lockheed Martin-made F-16 aircraft, 196 of which have been purchased by the Israeli Air Force and used in successive bombing campaigns in Gaza. In another joint venture with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman helped equip IAF Apache attack helicopters with radar systems specifically for use with Hellfire laser-guided missiles.TIAA-CREF has 126,663 shares in Boeing, valued at roughly $30,000,000. The Israeli Military, using US tax dollars, purchases a multitude of weapons and military aircraft from Boeing, including Apache helicopters, “Hellfire missiles, MK-84 2000-lb bombs, MK-82 500-lb bombs, and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) kits that turn bombs into “smart” GPS-equipped guided bombs.” According to analysis in the Guardian, the Israeli Air Force almost certainly used a Boeing manufactured, 2,000 pound in its devastating bombing of Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza City on October 31, 2023, which killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians. On October 10, 2023, Boeing announced that it was accelerating the delivery of 1,000 250-pound small diameter bombs to the Israeli Air Force, to be used in the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

General Dynamics Corp.

TIAA-CREFF has 50,197 shares in General Dynamics, valued at roughly $11,000,000. The Israeli Military, again using US tax dollars, purchases various weapons made by General Dynamics, including 5,000 and 2,000 pound bombs, guns and ground surveillance systems installed on Israeli Air Force fighter jets, and engines for the Merkava IV tank, the main battle tank used by the IDF. On a conference call of General Dyamics executives and external investors, the firm’s CFO Jason Aiken spoke of the potential for “the Israel situation…to put upward pressure on demand”, saying that the firm was “working ahead of schedule to accelerate [artillery] production capacity up to 85,000 even as high as 100,000 rounds per month.”

Call to Action

We demand an end to the investment of Yale University in corporations that profit from and support the genocidal war on Gaza, the system of apartheid, and the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. This call, following on a long history of anti-apartheid activism at Yale, is increasingly urgent right now, as the apartheid air force bombards the captive population of Gaza whilst keeping its refugee population in a state of imposed deprivation. As of writing, roughly 11,000, or 1 in 200, Gazans have been killed by American bombs dropped by Israeli pilots flying American jets purchased with American money. Well over 4,000 of this death toll are children. Amidst the relentless bombardment and mass death, the Israeli Air Force has targeted hospitals, schools, universities, bakeries, and residential homes. They have created nearly a million internally displaced people within Gaza. The cruelty of this collective punishment clearly aims not just to kill as many Palestinians as possible, but to, in the words of an Israeli state official, “make life in Gaza unlivable” and expel whatever remains of the Palestinian population after the terror bombing ceases.In response to the carnage in Gaza, students at Yale delivered an open letter to the University administration, which made two demands regarding the endowment. On the one hand, the letter called for an end to endowment investment in all weapons corporations; on the other, it called for divestment from corporations profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation. Yale announced subsequently that it was in the process of ‘reviewing’ its investments in arms corporations. However, the university has not responded to the call to divest from the apartheid system, and financial, political, and educational ties between Yale and the state of Israel go beyond the endowment.We urge you to call the Yale Office of Investment at 203-432-0120 to demand that Yale divest from companies profiting from genocide. Please see a sample script below.Hello. As a member of the Yale community, I am calling to demand the immediate divestment of Yale University from companies who are profiting from the genocidal war in Gaza and ongoing institutional apartheid in occupied Palestinian territories. Specifically, I am calling for immediate divestment from weapons companies whose bombs have been used to kill over 10 000 civilians in Gaza, including 4000 children.