BDS protest
BDS protestiStock

A Christian seminary in New York, affiliated with Columbia University, recently announced plans to divest from Israel and other companies involved in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, Newsweek reported on Monday.

On May 9, the Union Theological Seminary in New York announced that its board of trustees had endorsed a divestment plan from "companies profiting from war in Palestine/Israel", according to the report.

"Over the decades, we have developed what are called 'socially responsible investment (SRI) screens' to express our values and not financially support damaging and immoral investments," the seminary said in a statement. "With respect to companies that are profiting from the present war in Palestine, we continue to hold these standards high and have taken steps to identify all investments, both domestic and global, that support and profit from the present killing of innocent civilians in Palestine, whose numbers are now over 34,000—and a humanitarian crisis of ever-growing magnitude."

The seminary said it remained "unequivocal" in its denouncement of the civilian deaths caused by Hamas terrorist on October 7. It added, "Our investment policies will continue to adapt, guided by our values, to strengthen the resolve that undergirds our decision today."

In a statement to Newsweek, Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary, said, "Union has a 187-year tradition of advancing peace and justice. The Board of Trustees was driven to undertake this months-long process to ensure that we have a proactively just investment policy in accordance with our deep religious, spiritual, and core values. We're constantly evolving to better embody our core values. This was an act of conscience and the vote was an extension of Union's policies to ensure our investment portfolio reflects those core values."

Tensions have been on the rise at Columbia University in recent weeks amid growing anti-Israel demonstrations on the campus.

Two weeks ago, New York City police officers entered Columbia University to clear a pro-Palestinian Arab encampment, arresting hundreds.

Previously, more than 100 people were arrested by New York Police Department officers on a preliminary charge of criminal trespass, as police entered Columbia University to disperse a the pro-Palestinian Arab protest, but it has since continued and grown more explicitly antisemitic.

Days earlier, the Chabad rabbi of Columbia University and a group of Jewish students were forced to leave the university campus for their own safety during a pro-Hamas demonstration.