I forgot to mention that this information is focused on campus divestment, although other divestment activities (like church divestment) is mentioned.
FAQ #2: What is the origina of divest-from-Israel campaigns?
Calls to divest from Israel are part of a broader program of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (or BDS) pushed by anti-Israel groups to try to delegitimize the Jewish state. While economic warfare (such as the Arab boycott which began in 1921) has been part of the Arab-Israeli conflict since before Israel became a state, divestment (as part of a broader BDS program) has only gained traction in the last 6-7 years.
The goal of BDS is to “brand” Israel as the new Apartheid South Africa (South Africa also having been the target of economic boycotts and sanction). While this strategy was used sporadically after the fall of Apartheid in the 1990s, it was only after the 2001 Durban I “anti-racism” conference (which degenerated into an orgy of Israel bashing) that various anti-Israel organizations focused on BDS as their strategy of choice.
In the years since Durban, divestment has been attempted on college campuses, at churches, within unions and municipalities. While initially gaining some traction, enthusiasm for divestment waned after years of attempts to get institutions to divest proved unsuccessful.