Yale needs to divest from major defense contractors right away and speak up far more about the genocide happening in Palestine. 

Currently, Yale students are protesting the Yale Corporation’s stock investments in the following companies: Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, among others. 

My father was CEO of Raytheon Saudi Arabia for two years, during Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, while I was on campus. Dad was responsible for overseeing the sale of weapons that were used in the war against the Houthis, and these weapons invariably gave way to civilian tolls. Before Dad worked at Raytheon, I was critical of weapons companies. But his salary helped pay for my college education debt-free. As a result, I was used to debating the ethical dilemma in being involved, in some way shape or form, with corporations that manufacture missiles, bombs, warplanes and other things. 

Raytheon and its competitors are often vital for defense. The best example of this is Raytheon’s Iron Dome missile system, an effective shield against attacks. I’ve heard over many dinner table conversations that Iron Dome is efficient at thwarting missiles in Riyadh and Tel Aviv. As a joint venture between Rafael and Raytheon, Iron Dome is an all-weather system that shoots down any incoming object posing a threat to a city’s given parameter. These companies also produce highly effective radar systems that can screen against planes, submarines and other flying vessels. They have also developed state-of-the-art translation machines in which AI lets army personnel quickly communicate their message to a foreign language speaker within seconds. Erasing these language barriers allows for enhanced intelligence collection. 

But while defense contractors can be a boon to society, the weapons they produce that actively harm others are hurtful to us and other countries. I am in favor of companies like Raytheon selling Patriot missiles to Taiwan to protect against China, or selling missiles to South Korea to protect against Kim Jong Un. But I am not in favor of weapons companies helping Israel carry out a genocide and bomb Gaza into a thousand tiny pieces. 

The war that Israel is waging against Hamas has resulted in 34,000 Palestinian deaths. Israel controls all of Gaza’s utilities; indiscriminately blocks them of electricity and water on an as-needed basis; and it has prevented 39 percent of Gazans from receiving cancer treatment. And Bibi Netanyahu, to say the least, is a highly problematic president, having been charged with fraud and bribery, among other things. Netanyahu often verges on being as toxically conservative as Trump. He has had the chance to willfully address Hamas and the Gazan leadership with diplomatic negotiations but has actively chosen not to do so. This foreign policy stance mimics Netanyahu’s staunch policy of continuing to build settlements in the West Bank, a clear violation of international law

With an endowment of $40.7 billion, I doubt that pulling out of some Boeing stocks will hurt Yale’s future, unless I’m missing some niche financial insight that I don’t have access to as a former political science major. There are plenty of alternative investments the Yale Corporation can make that will brighten its future: in renewable energy, AI and other burgeoning markets. 

President Salovey should waive policy rules governing Yale protesters’ encampment on Beinecke Plaza. Students have already been arrested, but they didn’t deserve those arrests. Nor does any future student. Although Raytheon and Boeing help produce defense systems that protect against tyrants, President Salovey should also divest from the major weapons companies and reinvest in war-free alternatives. 

Speak up and divest now. 

ISAAC AMEND graduated in 2017 from Timothy Dwight College. He is a transgender man and was featured in National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution” documentary. In his free time, he is a columnist for the Washington Blade. He also serves on the board of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia. Contact him at isaac.amend35@gmail.com