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UCU condemns USS for its position on Gaza

19 February 2024

UCU has condemned the Universities Superannuation Scheme's (USS) refusal to review its investment links with Israel in light of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) ruling over potential acts of genocide in Israel's military offensive on Gaza.

Following this historic and significant judgment, UCU wrote to USS chair Dame Kate Barker highlighting the judgment and asking for "an immediate review of all investments that may be linked directly or indirectly to the Israeli Government given the gravity of this decision by this prestigious Court."

In its response to UCU, USS shared the call for "a rapid end to the current violence in the Middle East" but stated that "the Order is not of itself a decision by the ICJ" and that it would continue to consider its implications. USS has failed to commit to carry out a review of its investments stating that it would continue "consider our legal duty to invest in the best financial interests of the scheme's members and beneficiaries."  

The ICJ ordered Israel to take a series of measures against potentially genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza. These include measures not only on the battlefield but also against public incitement to genocide. It also ordered Israel to take "immediate and effective measures" to enable the provision of aid to people in Gaza which it has so far failed to do. 

UCU is committed to continuing to engage with USS to advance our members interest and we ask all members of the USS Trustee Board to reconsider its position and to review its investments to ensure that scheme member money is not supporting the plausible genocide being committed in Gaza on innocent civilians.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'It is shameful that the indiscriminate killing of thousands of innocent men, women and children and the finding of plausible genocide by the ICJ is not enough for USS to consider its investments in the Israeli war machine.

'When Russia invaded Ukraine, USS rightly issued a statement seven days later confirming there was a clear financial and moral case for divestment from its Russian holdings. We struggle to see, in light of the over 30,000 deaths, around 17,000 of these being children, how the moral case for even considering divestment from Israeli holdings has not been met.'

Last updated: 26 February 2024