September 20, 2010 – Faculty and staff at the University of Massachusetts Boston asked the non-profit investment firm TIAA-CREF to divest its holdings from companies that do business with the Israeli Occupation at the company CEO’s public address on campus last Monday.
Faculty presented TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson with a letter requesting that the firm withdraw its funds from five companies that arm and profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. These five companies are: Caterpillar, whose bulldozers Israel uses to demolish Palestinian homes; Motorola, which manufactures the surveillance equipment Israel uses in its vast network of checkpoints in the West Bank and in tandem with its Separation Wall; Elbit Systems, which manufactures drones used to kill Palestinian civilians; Veolia, a company hired to design a light rail system to connect the illegal settlements proliferating in the West Bank with one another as well as with Jerusalem, and Northrup Grumman, which manufactures weapons, missiles, and helicopter parts.
The letter was signed by 80 UMass Boston faculty and staff. It was presented during the question and answer period following Ferguson’s address. A faculty member spoke on behalf of the letter’s signatories, asking Ferguson how he reconciled his company’s commitment to serving the greater good with its investment in these five companies. He responded that he is accountable to all of his clients and is currently in the phase of “listening” to hear what investors on all sides of the issue have to say.
To see video of the letter presentation and question to Ferguson, watch here:
To read the letter the faculty and staff presented to Ferguson, click here:
This action is part of the growing international movement demanding corporate accountability for complicity in Israeli human rights abuses and violations of international law. It was undertaken in solidarity with the campaign launched by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in June, which calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.
To find out more about the JVP campaign, see:
To add your name to the JVP petition calling on TIAA-CREF to divest from these companies, see:
To learn more about the international movement calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel, see:
http://www.bdsmovement.net/ – site of the global BDS movement; you can read the call for BDS here
http://www.pacbi.org/ – site of the Palestinian campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel