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Thursday July 21, 2011 10:55 AM (EST+7)
OPINION: Shareholders take on US firm's Israel investments

Read more: BDS, boycott divestment and sanctions, TIAA-CREF, apartheid, divestment, private sector, boycott

RAMALLAH, July 21 (JMCC) - Physician and activist Alice Rothschild explains on Mondoweiss why she is asking retirement giant TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli companies.

The US company held a shareholder's meeting this week in Charlotte, but refused to discuss the issue.

So what happens when a group of shareholders, organized by a national Jewish peace group, asks TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that profit from or maintain the Israeli occupation? It seems that despite the Arab Spring and a growing recognition of Arabs as fellow human beings, human rights do not apply equally to everyone.

We are not talking about subtle accusations. These companies:

· Supply armor-plated and weaponized bulldozers to destroy Palestinian homes and olive orchards in the West Bank and Gaza (Caterpillar);

· Run segregated bus services for Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories and manage the Tovlan landfill in the Jordan Valley, dumping trash from Jewish settlements and Israel into the West Bank (Veolia);

· Produce parts for Apache helicopters and F-16 aircrafts responsible for the death and injury of hundreds of civilians and massive destruction during the 2008-2009 Gaza assault (Northrop Grumman);

· Provide Israeli surveillance systems, unmanned drones, and construction of the Separation Wall which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice and UN Security Council (Elbit);

· Construct surveillance systems around Jewish settlements, checkpoints, and military bases in the West Bank (Motorola).

Jewish Voice for Peace’s “We Divest” campaign sponsors include the American Friends Service Committee, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and Grassroots International, and has over 22,000 signatures in support of this divestment campaign. TIAA-CREF went so far as to get the SEC to give its blessing to ignore this resolution by its own shareholders as meddling in internal business operations.







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