A GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR ETHICAL INVESTMENT
ON BEHALF OF PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS
AND A JUST AND VIABLE PEACE IN ISRAEL-PALESTINE
An Ongoing Review of Diverse Approaches by Groups and Individuals Worldwide
By the Palestine-Israel Action Group (firstname.lastname@example.org),
a subcommittee of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (Quakers).
The campaign is not formally endorsed by the Ann Arbor Meeting.
n Church- & Faith-based Organizations p. 1
n Jewish & Palestinian Groups p. 8
n Secular Groups & NGOs p. 11
n Individuals p. 19
n Governmental-Political p. 20
n Universities p. 21
CHURCH & FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS
WCC advocates selective divestment from US companies like Caterpillar that profit from the Occupation, and from Israeli companies that depend on settlements for materials and labor, or that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights.
Churches with investment funds have an opportunity to use those funds responsibly in support of peaceful solutions to conflict. “Economic pressure, appropriately and openly applied, is one such means of action. “ (Adopted 2/05; reaffirmed 8/06) (email@example.com)
Sabeel (a Jerusalem-based international organization representing Palestinian Christians)
“There is a spiritual dimension to all investment.”
1. Earning money through investment in companies whose products and services are used to violate International Law and human rights is equivalent to profiting from unlawful acts and the oppression of others.
2. Continuing such investments, once the facts are brought to our attention, constitutes enabling harm to innocent civilians under Occupation and condoning illegal settlement policies that lead to human rights violations.
Sabeel cites Israeli human rights lawyer Shamai Leibovitz: “If the Jewish people are ever to become ‘a light of all nations’ and return to their core values of justice and human dignity, Israelis and Jews of conscience must call for effective measures to end the occupation of millions of Palestinians. I believe that selective economic pressure is the most effective way to end the brutal occupation.”
“The churches have exhausted all other options,” says Sabeel founder Naim Ateek, a Palestinian-Israeli Anglican priest. (See “Morally Responsible Investment: A Nonviolent Response to the Occupation,” 8/05.) (www.fosna.org)
Anglican Church of England: General Synod, 2/06
Supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, the Synod overwhelmingly
votes to support “morally responsible investment in the Palestinian occupied territories and, in particular to disinvest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation, such as Caterpillar Inc, until they change their policies.” The Synod asks its Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) to engage Caterpillar in “intensive discussions . . . with a view to its withdrawing from supplying or maintaining either equipment or parts for use by the State of Israel in demolishing Palestinian homes.”
The Synod urges EIAG to visit Palestinian lands to see recent house demolitions and “to give weight to
the illegality under international law of the activities in which Caterpillar Inc.’s equipment is
involved. ”The Episcopal Bishop of Jerusalem urges action, asking the Synod if the church must “wait until there are no homes and no trees for our people to wake up . . . ” (www.anglicancommunion.org/)
Anglican Church of England: Virginia Water Parish, Guildford Diocese. 10/06
The parish decides to implement the decision of the General Synod on its own. It withdraws its funds from its Church of England investment account in order to disinvest from companies such as Caterpillar that are profiting from Israel's occupation of Palestine. The Central Board of Finance (CBF), which manages investment funds, has so far declined to implement the General Synod's decision. "We are simply doing what the local Church in Palestine and the General Synod has asked us to do," says Vicar Stephen Sizer. "If the CBF will not withdraw our money from Caterpillar, then we will do it for them. We are looking for an investment fund with a more ethically sound policy." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Anglican Consultative Council. 5/05
Calls for “active engagement” by Anglican communions worldwide to wrestle with companies that support the occupation of Palestinian lands or violence against innocent Israelis. It encourages investment that supports the infrastructure of a future Palestinian State. (www.anglicancommunion.org/)
Anglican Church of Kenya, 7/05
Joins in urging movement toward divestment from companies whose activities contribute to the occupation of Palestinian land or to violence against innocent Israelis. “You only have to go there and [you will] sympathize with the Palestinians, especially when it comes to the separation wall. . . and the mistreatment of the women and men at the roadblocks,” said Bishop Gideon Ireri, speaking after the Kenyan synod backed the 5/05 call of the Anglican Consultative Council. (www.episcopalchurch.org)
Anglican Church of Canada, 11/05
The Council of General Synod unanimously passed a resolution asking the eco-justice committee, with the help of Kairos, a Canadian ecumenical justice group, to research the activities of companies believed to be contributing to violence in Israel and Palestine, as well as those contributing to peace and economic stability in that region. The committee, along with the Financial Management Development Investment Subcommittee, should “explore a range of socially responsible investment strategies, including corporate engagement and positive investment or divestment.” (anglicanjournal.com/132/01/canada15.html)
Ecumenical Campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine: Support a Just Peace in the Middle East. The campaign, begun in 2002, aims to mobilize member churches and ecumenical partners of the World Council of Churches through advocacy, prayer, building awareness of the issues and of churches' and secular groups' work in addressing the conflict, and accompaniment of Israelis and Palestinians engaged in nonviolent actions. The Campaign calls for a boycott of all products from Jewish settlements and an arms embargo until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories and complies with UN resolutions. (www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/international/palestine/campaign-home.html)
Episcopalian Executive Council (US), 10/05
EEC directs its Committee for Social Responsibility in Investments to undertake the following:
1. Corporate engagement via dialogue and shareholder resolutions, as appropriate, to encourage companies to adopt socially responsible practices that advance positive changes in Israeli government policy and end the Occupation.
2. Urge the Palestinian Authority to oppose violence as a means of resistance.
3. “Positive investment” – encourage companies to invest in the economic infrastructure of the West Bank and Gaza: “A stable Palestinian state will make for a more secure Israel.” Seek opportunities, with others, to make loans to “support economic justice and development in support of a future Palestinian State.” Palestine, like Israel, has a right to an economy that flourishes.
4. Urge members of the Church to visit church partners and others in Israel and the Palestinian Territories in order to understand the complexities of the conflict. (www.episcopalchurch.org/)
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), 8/07
Evangelical Lutherans, with nearly 5 million US members, back "exploration of the feasibility of refusing to buy products produced in Israeli settlements," and of supporting the purchase of Palestinian products, in measures adopted by The Churchwide Assembly, the denomination's key legislative body. The Assembly calls for examination of the denomination's "entire investment activity," excluding divestiture. These economic initiatives are part of a decision to "recommit to the Churchwide Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine through awareness-building, accompaniment [visits with Holy Land hosts], and advocacy." The initiative builds on the Peace Not Walls campaign the Assembly adopted in 2005, and will be undertaken in consultation with Evangelical Lutheran churches in Jordan and the Holy Land. (www.elca.org/news/Releases.asp?a=3718)
Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice
The Ann Arbor, Michigan interfaith group, in 5/03 adopted a resolution that recognizes the US government’s complicity in violations of human rights, and calls for suspending military aid and arms sales to Israel. It asks the University of Michigan, the city of Ann Arbor and members’ religious organizations to exert their influence, and, along with individuals, to divest from companies that sell arms or other military hardware to Israel. The goal is to bring about Israel’s compliance with UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention. (email@example.com)
Pax Christi: Catholic International Peace Movement. 7/06
Pax Christi announces support for a UK campaign aimed at multi-national companies that profit from the Occupation, including Volvo, Caterpillar, Daewoo and Sainsbury's. Australian Pax Christi convenor Fr. Claude Mostowik calls for the campaign to expand as a worldwide boycott. (cathnews.com/news/607/60.php)
The 2006 General Assembly votes to continue its policy of economic engagement in the denomination’s work for peace in Israel-Palestine. The new resolution makes the geographic scope and the substantial reach of the project more explicit, urging that the church’s investments “as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, be invested in only peaceful pursuits.” The resolution, overwhelmingly adopted, states that “the proper vehicle for achieving this goal” is the “customary corporate engagement process of the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI).” MRTI aims to persuade corporations to change their practices through correspondence, direct talks, proxy voting, shareholder resolutions, and if need-be through a recommendation for divestment. Rev. Gretchen Graf, Moderator of the GA Peacemaking Committee, affirms that MRTI “as a last resort” could recommend divestment to the next General Assembly in 2008 despite the absence of the words “phased selective divestment,” in this year’s resolution. That phrase in the 2004 GA document aroused the ire of organizations that considered it punitive toward Israel, although the phrase had drawn praise from organizations that believe it may persuade Israel to end its occupation more effectively than have decades of urgent requests.
The 2006 resolution asks MRTI to ”identify affirmative investment opportunities as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank.” The Presbyterians also explicitly ask the entire church “to work through peaceful means” to end the occupation, to end violence against civilians, and for the “creation of a socially, economically, geographically, and politically viable and secure Palestinian state, alongside an equally viable and secure Israeli state, both of which have a right to exist.” Finally, the GA supports “fair criticism” of the wall: “To the extent that the security barrier violates Palestinian land . . . the barrier should be dismantled and relocated." . (http://www.pcusa.org/worldwide/israelpalestine/resources/divestmentfaqpart2.pdf)
Presbyterian Church, USA, Detroit Presbytery. 2/08.
Temporary Suspension of Military Aid to Israel: The Presbytery votes to ask the 2008 General Assembly to 1)reaffirm the right of Israel to exist; 2)deplore suicide bombings and terror attacks; and
3) call for temporary suspension of US military aid to Israel until it complies with the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act. These laws prohibit the use of US weapons against civilians or civilian infrastructure and bar aid to countries that engage in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
General Assemblies have repeatedly addressed denial of aid to Israel and have called for an end to further settlements and land appropriation. Yet, since 1948, Israel has driven Palestinians from their homes, lands and towns, confined them to refugee camps, destroyed their commerce with blockades, and built a wall that divides families, separates children from school and sick persons from hospitals. It has arrested and imprisoned people without trial and created fear and loss of life through random military attacks on civilians. Christian communities are being eliminated. US military aid, now over 10 million dollars a day, is crucial to the continuance of these human rights violations. The Presbytery deplores all violence, including suicide bombings and other terrorist acts, as well as violence perpetrated by an occupying army. Heeding the call of the prophets, of Jesus, and of the denomination's own Book of Order, the Presbytery affirms that all human life is precious. The cycle of violence must stop.
(Middle East Work Group (MEWG) of the Presbytery of Detroit <http://mewg.org/overture218/>)
Presbyterian Church of Scotland. 5/06
The General Assembly, meeting in Edinburgh, calls on European authorities and the World Council of Churches to clearly identify products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank “to enable consumers to make informed choices.” The General Assembly has no investments directly relevant to its concerns about Israel and the Palestinians. (ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_060524cofs.s)
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers): American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). 3/08.
AFSC is affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The AFSC Board adopts an "investment screen" barring investments in companies that provide products or services (including financial services) used by Israeli governmental or military bodies or Israeli or Palestinian organizations or groups "to facilitate or undertake violent acts against civilians or violations of international law." The screen would bar investment in companies that help maintain Israel's military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or that help maintain and expand Israeli settlements or the Separation Wall. The Board states, "We take this action as a matter of conscience and an expression of our unwillingness to remain complicit with violence and oppression occurring daily in Palestine and Israel, which is contrary to all that we know to be true and right." <www.afsc.org/israel-palestine/default.htm>
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers): Atlanta Meeting (Georgia), 7/06, and Olympia Meeting (Washington State). 8/06
“By using US-supplied weapons to attack Gaza and Lebanon, Israel is violating the terms of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act. The Arms Export Control Act restricts the use of US weapons to legitimate self-defense and internal policing; US weapons cannot be used to attack civilians in offensive operations. The Foreign Assistance Act prohibits US aid of any kind to a country that routinely kills civilians as a result of its military operations. … We urge the President and Congress to stop all foreign assistance and military equipment exports to Israel until it ceases military attacks outside of its internationally recognized borders.” (atlanta.quaker.org) (olyfriends.homestead.com)
Roman Catholic: Mercy Investment Program, Sisters of Mercy, Maryknoll Sisters, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Sisters of Loretto and Jewish Voice for Peace. 4/05
The Sisters’ Caterpillar shareholder resolution asked Cat to investigate whether its sale of bulldozers to Israel violates the company’s own code of conduct: “It is a matter of public record that since September 2000, the Israeli government has used Caterpillar equipment to destroy more than 3000 homes, hundreds of public buildings and private commercial properties and vast areas of agricultural land,” uprooting “hundreds of thousands of olive trees as well as orchards of dates, prunes, lemons and oranges causing widespread economic hardship and environmental degradation in rural areas of Palestine.” The resolution received a 3% vote at the shareholders’ meeting --“a remarkable success,” said JVP. The goal was "to put this issue front and center in the minds of the Caterpillar board.” (sistersofmercy.org) (iccr.org/)
Roman Catholic: National Coalition of American Nuns. 8/07
The coalition, founded in 1969 for individual nuns dedicated to issues of social justice and human rights, backs municipal boycotts of Caterpillar machinery and a boycott of Israeli goods at its August 2007 board meeting, stating: "Because Caterpillar (CAT) bulldozers are used as weapons of war in the Occupied Territories in violation not only of the U. S. Arms Export Control Act, but also of international law and the corporation’s own code of conduct, we call for divestment from Caterpillar, municipal boycotts of CAT machinery, and a consumer boycott of other CAT products." Further, "We call on the U. S. government to begin at once to withdraw from its occupation in Iraq and to withdraw support of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. We encourage a boycott of Israeli goods in order to hasten a more just civil order in the Holy Land." (www.journalnow.com)
Roman Catholic: Sisters of Loretto.
As shareholders in Caterpillar, Inc., the Sisters community filed a resolution in 2004, asking Caterpillar to stop providing arms to Israel. A Sister addressed the annual shareholders meeting, telling the executives, “You understand the implications of improvement in clean emissions, equal employment opportunity, environmental impact of mining and logging. But with sales to the Israeli Army through the Department of Defense, you have stepped up Caterpillar's role in the public arena. Caterpillar bulldozers are tools of war now and Caterpillar is an arms dealer, sharing in responsibility for the horrendous use of those weapons.” The resolution won 4% of the shareholders’ votes, assuring its reconsideration in 2005. (catdestroyshomes.org) (lorettocommunity.org)
South African Council of Churches (SACC). 5/05
The Council, representing millions of South Africans, endorses the call for boycott issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The endorsement was joined by over a hundred prominent South African academics. (www.aidc.org.za/?q=book/view/586)
Unitarian-Universalist Association of Congregations. 6/02
The 2002 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association opposes Israeli settlements, land confiscation, house demolitions, and other violations of international law, as well as "all attacks on civilians, whether by suicide bombers, F-16 or helicopter gunships, or any other means." The US government "is responsible for a significant portion of arms sales to this over-armed region" and the GA calls on the US to "suspend all transfers of those types of weapons and munitions used to commit human rights violations until Israel is clearly in compliance with the terms for arms transfers as expressed in United States law and bilateral agreements."
The Assembly urges UU congregations to become educated on Middle East issues, to support Israeli peace activists, to give encouragement to Jewish Americans and others who support Israel but oppose
its occupation of Palestine, and to support a central United Nations role in seeking a comprehensive,
just, and lasting peace. (uua.org/socialjustice/socialjustice/statements/13983.shtml)
United Church of Canada (Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ). 8/06
The UCC General Council adopts a Pro-Peace Investment Strategy “to invite the membership, congregations, and organizations of The United Church of Canada to invest in companies that contribute to peace and a secure and economically viable Palestinian state alongside a secure and economically viable State of Israel” and to “make financial investments, as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, with . . . companies that are engaged only in peaceful pursuits in the region.” UCC is Canada’s largest Protestant denomination. It rules out investment in companies supporting the occupation and settlements, as well as in firms serving “any government or organization that refuses to recognize the legitimate rights of the State of Israel, including its right to exist as a Jewish state.” The denomination denounces acts of violence perpetrated against persons on all sides of the conflict. It commits to raising one million dollars to support projects of groups working for peace in Palestine and Israel. (www.united-church.ca/news/2006/0818.shtm)
United Church of Christ (UCC), Twenty-fifth General Synod. 7/05
The Use of Economic Leverage in Promoting Peace in the Middle East: Ask pension boards, conferences, local churches and members to use economic leverage: advocating reallocation of US foreign aid to constrain Middle East militarization; contributing to groups and partners committed to nonviolent resolution of the conflict; challenging corporations’ practices that gain from the conflict and occupation; and divesting from companies that refuse to change these practices. Educate congregants about how economic leverage may help support the development of Palestine and Israel as two independent, secure, economically viable states. Continue dialogue with Jewish, Christian and Muslim partners to work for Israel-Palestine peace. (ucc.org)
United Methodist Church: General Conference. 4/08
The General Conference of the denomination's 7.9 million members will consider calls from eight regional conferences and from UMC social justice bodies to consider ethical investment approaches at its session in Fort Worth, Texas, 4/08. Establishment of a churchwide "socially responsible investment task force" is proposed by the UMC Church and Society Board (9/07), calling for "targeted divestment with businesses directly involved with the oppression of Palestinians and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur," reports Rev. Steve Sprecher, chair of the C & S board.
A resolution titled "Divestment and Caterpillar" will also go before the General Conference, asking UMC members, churches, regional conferences, and pension agencies to divest from the company. James Winkler, UMC public affairs head, met with CAT's CEO Jim Owens in 1/08 to convey opposition to sales to Israel of CAT equipment used for "illegal destruction of Palestinian homes, orchards and olive groves ...and to clear Palestinian land for illegal Israeli settlements, segregated roads and the Separation barrier." The UMC pension board reportedly holds $5 million in Caterpillar shares. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk)
United Methodist Church: Baltimore-Washington Conference. 6/07
The Conference joins a significant number of regional Methodist bodies in calling for a vigorous response to the occupation. It states that "our General Rules hold us first accountable to 'Doing no harm.'" But "financing the oppression and violence caused by the military occupation...with our investments harms every Israeli and Palestinian, including Christian, child, woman and man." The Conference joins "a proven means of non-violent protest to actively promote a peaceful resolution to the political violence [that is] harming, maiming and killing Israelis and Palestinians" -- violence that in fact "violates Christian principles, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international law." The Conference calls upon Methodist boards of pensions and health benefits, administrators, and financial councilors to determine which corporations supported by Methodist investments profit from the Occupation, as by demolishing homes, constructing the wall, or supporting violence against Israelis or Palestinians. They are to engage such corporations to end such practices and, if they fail, they are to sell the investments and notify all member churches. The Conference concludes with the prayer that these actions "will give hope to Palestinians and Israelis...including our Christian brothers and sisters in the region who have not been forgotten." (UMC.org)
United Methodist Church: California-Nevada Conference. 6/06
The Conference calls on Methodist churches, boards and foundations "to review and identify companies that profit from sales of products or services that are used as tools of occupation or oppression against the Palestinians by the State of Israel and divest from these companies." It urges the 2008 General Conference to take similar action on behalf of the entire United Methodist denomination in the United States. (UMC.org)
United Methodist Church: California-Pacific Conference. 6/06
The Conference affirms "Israel's right to exist within permanent, recognized and secure borders, and Palestinians' rights to self-determination and formation of a viable state, whether it is through a one-state or two-state solution." It cites the denomination's Book of Resolutions on "Avoidance by Divestment" that prohibits investment in enterprises that have morally reprehensible policies or practices. It calls on all who are investing United Methodist funds to review and identify companies that profit from sales or services that harm Palestinians or Israelis and to divest from these companies. It supports other religious partners, such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ, who are also divesting., and calls on the 2008 General Conference to take similar action. (UMC.org)
United Methodist Church: New England Conference. 6/07.
Resolution on “Divesting from Companies that are Supporting, in a Significant Way, the Israeli
Occupation of Palestinian Territories.” Ending the Israeli occupation is a stated goal of The United Methodist Church, says Bishop Peter Weaver. The settlements and Israel’s wall on Palestinian land violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, UN resolutions, and the 2003 Roadmap. The Church affirms the right of Christians, Jews, and Muslims to freedom of movement in the Holy Land and the maintenance of Jerusalem as an open city for people of all three faiths.
The Divestment Task Force, established in 2005, communicated with key companies found to support the Occupation. Twenty companies have now been placed on a divestment list and shared with Methodist churches and investment managers. They are Lockheed Martin, Blockbuster, Alliant Tech Systems, Boeing, Caterpillar, Cement Roadstone Holdings, General Dynamics, General Electric, Globecomm Systems, Magal Security Systems, Motorola, Northrop Grumman, Oshkosh Truck Corp, Raytheon, Silicon Graphics, TEREX, United Technologies, Veolia Environnement, ITT, and Volvo. "Selective divestment is consistent with the United Methodist commitment to a just and sustainable peace for all the people of the Middle East," says William Aldrich, of the Divestment Task Force. Divestment offers "a tangible way of working toward this goal." (www.neumc.org)
United Methodist Church: North Central New York Conference. 6/06.
The Conference cites the destructiveness of the Occupation and the resulting hopelessness, frustration, and humanitarian crisis, adding that "targeted assassinations, suicide bombings and attacks against civilians by both Israelis and Palestinians heighten the fear and suffering of all." Meanwhile, "people in the United States, through their taxes, provide over $10 million per day (IfAmericansKnew.org) in economic and military assistance to the State of Israel, which allows for the building of bypass roads and settlements that are illegal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention." The Conference calls on Methodist churches and boards to identify companies that are supporting the occupation "in a significant way" or causing harm to Palestinians or Israelis and to "begin the phased selective process using dialogue, shareholder actions, and as a last resort divestment." (UMC.org)
United Methodist Church: Northern Illinois Conference. 6/07
The Conference calls on the U.S. Congress, the Israeli Knesset, and the Palestinian Parliament to reject aggression and violence, to respect the equality and dignity of all the region's people, and to forge solutions based on the principles of international law and human rights. It rejects terrorism and acts of provocation that lead to violence, and it believes that security for one people can never be achieved by denying security to others. The Conference aims to make all United Methodists and other Americans aware of their unwitting participation in human rights violations that violate Christian principles and international law.
Palestinians are in crisis, with soaring unemployment, malnutrition, restrictions on movement, denial of medical care, denial of access to agricultural lands, humiliation at checkpoints, and extended lockdowns called curfews. Nearly two million live in poverty, with no access to their own lands, while Israel continues to take land and water for ever-expanding settlements, Israeli-only roadways, and construction of a giant wall and fence that is confiscating a significant portion of the Palestinian West Bank.
The Conference sends a resolution to the 2008 General Conference, calling on the United Methodist Church to begin a process of phased, selective divestment (beginning with dialogue) from multinational corporations profiting from violence in the area, from demolition of Palestinian homes, construction of the wall, confiscation of land, and continuing the Occupation, as well as divestment from institutions that perpetrate or support violence against Israelis. The Church should review its investments, evaluate alternative means of economic intervention, and invest in companies that "make a positive contribution" to its basic social goals, rather than profiting from illegal activities. (www/umc.org/nilconf/)
United Methodist Church: Oregon-Idaho Conference. 6/07
UMC "should not profit from the illegal (as defined by UN Resolution 242) Israeli occupation of Palestinian land or the destruction of Palestinian homes, orchards, and lives," says the O-I Conference in a resolution sent to the 2008 General Conference. UMC's Standing Resolution on Investment Ethics prohibits UMC investment in enterprises with policies or practices deemed "morally reprehensible" -- historically, liquor, tobacco, gambling, and, often, major military contractors. Under the UMC policy of "Avoidance by Divestment," some church investors divested from companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid, making public their action as a moral statement. In this tradition, the Oregon-Idaho Conference proposes that UMC boards of pensions and finance "review and identify companies that profit from sales of products or services that cause harm to Palestinians or Israelis and divest from these companies." (www.umoi.net/docbuilder/journal2007/ - actions/resolutions p.172)
United Methodist Church: Virginia. 6/05
Affirms Israel's right to exist within permanent, recognized, and secure borders, and Palestinians' right to self-determination and the formation of a viable state.
The Conference calls upon the United Methodist Board of Pensions to review its investments and undertake a process of phased, selective divestment from any multinational corporations that are profiting from the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes, destruction of the Palestinian economy, and confiscation of Palestinian land. (UMC.org)
York and Hull District Methodist Synod, England. 4/05.
Recommend to the UK Methodist Conference that it follow the lead of the World Council of Churches and Presbyterian Church, undertaking a review of all investments under its control, with a view to divesting from any corporations or activities that support the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “International Law is the basis of the Conference resolution. This fact should be well publicized.”
JEWISH AND PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS
European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP)
“No Other Way,” adopted at the 2005 annual plenary, calls for economic pressure targeted at the Occupation. The rationale for these measures highlights: 1) Their nonviolent nature and 2) The fact that the need to resort to these steps is a result of the failure of other means. Opposing the Israeli occupation cannot be construed as anti-Semitic.
Under “Divestment Actions,” EJJP calls for pressure by boycott and information campaigns on companies, institutions, organizations, and individuals that profit from involvement in or contribution to the Occupation, such as Caterpillar, Intel, and Soda Club. It includes Israeli companies that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights, and also universities, research institutions, and individuals that contribute to the perpetuation of the Occupation.
The purchase of Israeli arms and weapons should be banned, and governments are asked to stop selling Israel arms used to continue the Occupation. Settlement products should be boycotted, based on the Gush Shalom list, as well as products with labels that do not differentiate between settlement products and those made in Israel. (ejjp.org)
“Peace Bloc” in Hebrew, Gush is a highly active Israeli peace organization that started an ongoing National Boycott of Settlements’ Products in 1997, providing a list of products produced in settlements’ industrial parks to tens of thousands of Israeli households on request. The list is constantly revised and is used by international groups seeking such information. (gush-shalom.org)
1. Selective divestment from companies that profit from the Occupation, e.g., Caterpillar, and from
Israeli companies that depend on settlements for materials or labor or that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights
2. Reminds churches with investment funds that they have an opportunity to use those funds responsibly in support of peaceful solutions to conflict. Economic pressure is one such means of action. Calls for churches to:
A. Exert pressure on companies to discontinue business that supports the occupation.
B. When pressure fails, divest from such companies. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jewish Voice for Peace, US
The group includes American Jews and Israeli peace activists. It supports the Presbyterian Church’s “selective divestment from companies, including Caterpillar, that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and from Israeli companies that use settlements as a source for materials and labor or that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights. General divestment from Israel itself is not now advised; rather: target the Occupation and the Israeli military complex that sustains it.
JVP counters Caterpillar’s claims that the company is not involved with Israeli violence because it does not sell its house-wrecking equipment directly to the IDF. In fact, the company’s bulldozers are sold to Israel through the US Foreign Military Sales Program (as Cat CEO Jim Owens wrote JVP in 2003).
JVP notes that US military aid since 1949 “represents the largest transfer of funds from one country to another in history.” However, by law, 75% of US military aid to Israel must go to US corporations, so US companies are major financial beneficiaries of the Occupation. (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org)
Jewish Voice for Peace. Germany 8/07
Protestors demonstrated against settlement food products during "Israel Week" at a Berlin department store, Galeria Kaufhof. The protestors, joined by Middle East Workshop Berlin and Solidarity with Palestine, targeted Amnon and Tamar (spices). (www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/894796.html)
Jews for a Just Peace, Vancouver, Canada 8/06
There is no such thing as a benign occupation. Appeals to the Israeli government to end their harsh treatment of Palestinian have simply not worked. “That’s why stronger measures are called for, measures such as selective divestment . . .”
Israel’s occupation is being institutionalized and made permanent. As Jeff Halper says: “Neither security nor terrorism are really the issue; Israel’s policies of annexation are based on a pro-active claim to the entire country . . . Terrorism on all sides is wrong . . . but to demand that resistance cease while an occupation is being made permanent is unconscionable.”
“In Gaza, the siege continues. Israel has kidnapped elected Palestinian officials, shelled and bombed, conducted military operations resulting in civilian deaths, and destroyed civilian infrastructure -- power grids, bridges, government buildings and more. Still understood as Occupation under international law, Israel controls Gazan airspace, borders and ports.
“We support the views of the prominent Israeli writer, the late Yeshayahu Leibovitz, who wrote: ‘We must free ourselves from the curse of dominating another people.’” (www.jewsforajustpeace.com)
Matzpun (the Hebrew word for "Conscience"). 10/06
This group of Israeli citizens and Jews of other nationalities "whose families have been victims of racism and genocide in past generations, and who feel they cannot remain silent" says that Palestinians have been imprisoned in ghettos, while the Israeli government reduces their existence to bare survival and depopulates their territories. Matzpun asks people everywhere to "organize and boycott Israeli industrial and agricultural exports and goods, as well as leisure tourism, in the hope that it will have the same positive result that the boycott of South Africa had on Apartheid." They ask individuals to start practicing the boycott on a personal level, telling shopkeepers why they will not buy Israeli products. They also urge organizing to press governments to end commercial ties with Israel and to rescind preferential economic treaties. Matzpun's online appeal can also be circulated. (www.matzpun.com/)
An Israeli peace group, active with army Refusers, women’s groups, and other peace groups, 2/05, New Profile “opposes the Occupation on three counts: 1. Its destruction of Palestinian life, society, land, and property. 2. Its role in maintaining militarism in Israel. 3. Its erosion of Israel’s socio-economic and moral fabric.”
“We therefore seek non-violent means of ending this catastrophic Occupation. One such means is using economic sanctions to pressure the government to change its policy. To this end New Profile welcomes and supports selective divestment aimed at divesting from companies that contribute to the continuation of the Occupation by supplying arms, other equipment, or staff . . . [E]nding the occupation is not only to the benefit of the Palestinians but also necessary for the welfare of Israel, its youth, and future generations. Over 20,000 Israeli soldiers have died in its wars since 1948. Enough.” (www.newprofile.org)
Not in My Name (NIMN)
NIMN supports Selective Divestment as a Tool to Oppose the Occupation. This predominantly Jewish US group stated in 1/05, “We continue to add our voices to the growing anti-Occupation movement and make it clear that Israel neither speaks nor acts in the name of all Jews.”
“[T]he Occupation is destroying Israeli society by increasing poverty, violence, and insecurity. Therefore actions that oppose the Occupation are, in fact, pro-Israeli. Furthermore, we believe that such actions are in keeping with our vision of a Judaism that is based on the principle of justice.”
“We believe that the Israelis and Palestinians deserve a chance to live together in peace and we support self-determination for both peoples. We oppose the obstacles that prevent the creation of a just and lasting peace, and believe that the Occupation and the U.S. support for it are primary obstacles. We also oppose such things as the illegal Jewish-only settlements and bypass roads in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, home demolitions, all forms of collective punishments, and extrajudicial assassinations. We also oppose the Wall that imprisons entire Palestinian villages and separates Palestinians from their farmlands, schools, religious and economic centers, and their water . . .
Well-designed divestment campaigns can help focus public discourse on the Occupation. They can also have a positive material impact, as has been shown by such projects as the grape boycott to support the United Farm Workers and the opposition to South African apartheid.”
“Therefore, NIMN urges its members and supporters to investigate and actively support selective divestment and boycott campaigns that target corporations that profit from the Occupation.” (nimn.org)
Palestinian Civil Society (170 organizations) 7/05: “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights”
1. South Africa apartheid is a historical precedent
2. End the Occupation and dismantle the wall
3. Recognize the rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel
4. Palestinians’ right of return re: UN resolution 194 (www.badil.org)
Palestine Solidarity Campaign - UK: Sports Boycott. 2007
The PSC coalition seeks an international sporting boycott against Israeli teams until Israel ends the
Occupation. With petitions, lobbying, and demonstrations at British stadiums, PSC demands "Fair Play for Palestinians" and asks football associations worldwide to "Kick Israeli Apartheid out of football!" Jews for Boycott of Israeli Goods and other groups support this campaign. (www.palestinecampaign.org)
Palestinian Filmmakers, Artists and Cultural Workers Call for a Cultural Boycott. 8/06
Artists and filmmakers of good conscience around the world are asked to cancel all exhibitions and other cultural events that are scheduled to occur in Israel and to “speak out against the current Israeli war crimes and atrocities,” as they did in boycotting South African art institutions. The group asks the international community “to join us in the boycott of Israeli film festivals, Israeli public venues, and Israeli institutions supported by the government, and to end all cooperation with these cultural and artistic institutions that to date have refused to take a stand against the Occupation, the root cause for this colonial conflict.” A goal of the campaign is to “appeal to the Israeli people to give up their silence, to abandon their apathy, and to face up to their responsibility in the destruction and killing their elected government is wreaking.” People can endorse this call by sending an email with name, position and country to <email@example.com>
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, 2/06
This British group calls for an economic boycott of the Israeli construction industry. They protest the building of Israeli settlements and the Wall in the Occupied Territories. Architects and others working on Israeli projects in the occupied territories are “complicit in social, political and economic oppression.” The “construction disciplines are being used to promote an apartheid system of environmental control.” A leader of the group, architectural critic Charles Jenckes, told The Independent, ”I understand fully that security is the problem for Israel and they have the right to protect themselves. But this is not the solution. It is an extremist measure which foments extremism, by incarcerating and intimidating Palestinians.” The group may target Israeli-made construction materials and Israeli architects and construction companies. (news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article344510.ece)
ASN Bank, Holland, 11/06
This Dutch Bank announced that it would end its relationship with all companies that benefit from Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory, including the French multi-national firm Veolia Transport, involved in a light rail system that aims to connect illegal settlements with Israeli cities. (Haaretz 12-3-06)
British Doctors, 5/07
130 British doctors call for a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association and its expulsion from the World Medical Association.
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine. 12/05
CJPP, based in Quebec, launches a campaign of “boycott, divestment, and sanctions, to force Israel to respect international law,” stating, “We must stop believing in the false pronouncements of peace of the Israeli State and in the roadmap of its US sponsor. Because, in practice, under the cover of the hyper-showcased Gaza 'disengagement,' Israel is moving ahead with a much more significant expansion of its settlements in the West Bank, and continues the illegal construction of its apartheid wall, gradually reducing the occupied Palestinian territories into a disconnected patchwork of mini-bantustans.” The campaign will cover 1) the boycott of Israeli products and products of companies that are contributing to the occupation, 2) the retrieval of investments from these companies, and 3) sanctions against the Israeli State, starting with opposition to the Canada-Israel free trade agreement. The targets initially identified by the CJPP for Phase One are Caterpillar and Israeli wines. (cjpp.org/}
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). 5/06
The Ontario division of Canada’s largest union, representing 200,000 workers, voted in 5/06 to support the international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions until Israel recognizes “the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination” and “the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” The group asks the Canadian Labor Congress to “join us in lobbying against the apartheid-like practices of the Israeli state and call for the immediate dismantling of the wall.” CUPE will develop an education campaign about the political and economic support of Canada for these practices. (www.cupe.on.ca/)
Collectif Urgence Palestine (CUP) (Swiss). 2005-2006
CUP protests the “Judization of Jerusalem” by boycotting Connex, a French company hired to run a light railway system connecting Jewish-only settlements in Jerusalem. In 3/06, CUP protested a contract for Connex to operate public transport services in Geneva, stating: “Switzerland, as depository of the Geneva Conventions, should not deal with companies that violate international law and support Israeli Apartheid in Palestine.” In 2005, CUP petitioned the Swiss parliament to nullify the purchase of Israeli military equipment worth 150 million Swiss francs. In May 2006, CUP hosted an international conference with ECCP: “For a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel: Enforce International Law!” which called for divestment and boycott. (www.urgencepalestine.ch)
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). 10/04
The Congress, representing 1.2 million workers, calls for a comprehensive boycott of Israel as championed by a coalition including Landless People's Movement, Physicians for Human Rights, South African NGO Coalition. The call was led by the Palestine Solidarity Committee. In 6/06 COSATU representative Patrick Craven says the trade union’s policy is to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom because his own people in South Africa were also forced to fight a war of independence using similar tactics against harsh oppression. (www.aidc.org.za/?q=book/view/586)
This London-based dance magazine, with a circulation of 17,500, joins the cultural boycott. “We are opposed to the occupation,” says advertising director Naresh Kaul. Dance Europe screens its ads: “If any company in Israel cooperates with us by adding a disclaimer saying it is opposed to the occupation, settlements and everything else, we will cooperate with them.” The magazine prints Israeli ads if the advertiser includes a statement saying the firm disapproves of the occupation. (www.danceeurope.net)
Edinburgh International Film Festival. 8/06
The Festival returned a donation to the Israeli Embassy and cancelled several Israeli films). The Israeli donation was to underwrite the attendance of Israeli director Yoav Shamir at the showing of his documentary “Five Days,” about the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza. The festival decided to show the film nevertheless and offered to fund Shamir’s expenses itself. Seven Israeli films were cancelled of the eighteen originally scheduled for screening. Festival artistic director Christophe Postic explained, “(T)he war in Lebanon changed the picture. We couldn’t present only Israeli films for three days and ignore what is happening.” (www.ynetnews.com/articles)
European Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP), 7/05
Members of the civil society of EU-member states petition their governments, the EU Council, and the UN “to take political and economical measures, including sanctions, to prevent Israel from continuing the construction of the wall and to force it to respect the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion” [which ruled that the Wall on Palestinian soil is unlawful]. They urge their governments to cease military exchanges and agreements with Israel, to provide no aid in construction of the Wall, to honor their commitment to the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Resolutions, and to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FAWU - Food and Allied Workers Union, South Africa. 1/07
The union condemns South African retailers for importing produce from Israel, saying "experience in the apartheid South Africa era should have taught us to set the standard when it comes to condemning racist, oppressive behaviour." Union head K. Masemola says Israel produces avocadoes, for example, under "slave-like conditions," using child labor--forbidden under International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. (fawu-media-releases@google groups.com)
This international human rights organization working for social, economic, and environmental justice says Palestinians in Israel “live as third class citizens, facing legal, economic, and social discrimination. In the occupied territories, Israel continues to subject the Palestinians there to home demolitions, closures and checkpoints, extrajudicial detentions and assassinations, immobilizing curfews, and countless other daily abuses and forms of oppression. The system of apartheid that Israel has developed closely resembles that which South Africa once had. Apartheid in South Africa was eventually abolished in large part because of an international grassroots movement to stop financial support of the apartheid regime.” They add: “Through divestment (stopping capital investment in companies that do business in Israel) and boycott (not buying Israeli products) we can bring justice to the Israelis and Palestinians as well.” (statement updated 8/23/05) (www.globalexchange.org)
Global Palestine Solidarity (GPS). 2/07
Palestine Solidarity groups from Europe, Canada, and Australia start a coordinated "conflict diamond" campaign. Valentine's Day 2007 marked a partial roll-out, with groups such as Ireland-PSM contacting retail jewelers associations, requesting "Israeli Free" diamonds for consumers who want to avoid diamonds that help support the Israeli economy and illegal occupation of Palestinian land, including "the creeping ethnic cleansing" of East Jerusalem, the detention of over 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, many without charge, including juveniles, and dozens of democratically elected Palestinian lawmakers and ministers," said Sean Clinton, the Irish spokesperson.(email@example.com)
Human Rights Watch. 12/04
HRW reports that the Israeli military uses the D9 bulldozer as its primary weapon to raze Palestinian homes, destroy agriculture, and shred roads in violation of the laws of war and international human rights laws. The group urges the company to cease D9 sales that go to the Israeli military
Caterpillar’s CEO claims the firm lacks “the practical ability or legal right to determine how our products are used after they are sold.” HRW says this stance ignores international standards on corporate social responsibility. Since 2003, the United Nations has been developing standards for corporations. The “UN Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights” states that companies should not “engage in or benefit from” violations of international human rights or humanitarian law and that companies “shall further seek to ensure that the goods and services they provide will not be used to abuse human rights.” (HRW.org)
The Interfaith Group for Morally Responsible Investment (IMRI)-UK
This consortium sees “no prospect for peace without the intervention of the international community.” They support the decision of the Synod of the Anglican Church of England, 2/06, to commence disinvestment from companies that support the illegal occupation. IMRI asks individual Anglican parishes to shift their investment funds away from Caterpillar. IMRI members include concerned Anglicans, and the Amos Trust, Friends of Al Aqsa, Interpal, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Just Peace-UK, the Palestinian Return Centre, and Pax Christi. (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com)
Irish Academics tell EU: "Halt financial support to Israeli academic institutions." 9/06.
"Israel appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders and to longstanding United Nations resolutions" to end the Occupation, say 61 Irish academics. (haaretz.com/hasen/spages/766389.html)
Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU). 7/07.
The ICTU biennial conference adopts motions to "actively and vigorously" promote a policy of boycott and divestment. The Congress, representing trade unions and workers from all sectors of industry and employment throughout the island of Ireland, criticizes the British and Irish governments and the European Union for the failed policy of "constructive engagement," which is, in effect "appeasement of the Israeli aggression and territorial expansionism." The EU has failed to end preferential trading status with Israel although "(t)he litany of human rights abuses, atrocities and war crimes should long ago have led to the ending of the agreement." They note that the European Parliament has already on two separate occasions called on the EU Council of Ministers to take this action. ICTU will register direct complaints to its governments and to the EU and will seek to mobilize EU-wide trade union action. The Congress's statement contains an eloquent and powerful summary of Israel's oppressive treatment of Palestinians. (www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id= A557_0_1_0_M)
ISM Italy. 2/06.
A huge inflatable snake floated on the River Po during the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. It was launched by the Italian branch of ISM (International Solidarity Movement), citing Israel’s refusal to comply with the 2004 International Court of Justice ruling on the illegality of the Wall. The creature, designed by artist Piero Gilardi, bore the slogan “Free Palestine! Boycott Israel!” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Labor for Palestine, US.
LFP emerged in the US as a response to Palestinian workers’ exploitative conditions. US labor union pension funds are said to have about 5 billion dollars invested in State of Israel Bonds. Divestment from these bonds is a central platform of Labor for Palestine. (www.laborforpalestine.org)
Labour for Palestine, Canada. 8/07
LFP Canada addressed US labor unions with a ringing defense of BDS in August 2007. The group works within the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) to promote the BDS campaign in Canadian labor unions. Its 8/07 Its 106-page informational digest is available from www.womensbookstore.com.
Lussas Documentary Film Festival, France, 8/06
Lussas cancelled screenings of Israeli documentary films following the outbreak of the massive Israeli attack on Lebanon. Festival directors wrote the Israeli directors that they planned to substitute a program of Lebanese and Palestinian films “that will show our opposition to the war.” (newsbusters.org/node/7136)
National Lawyers Guild
Resolution To Divest, In Principle And Practice, From Israel (NLG National Convention, 10/04)
WHEREAS the Israeli government with its illegal occupation and expansionist program in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip is engaged, and has been engaged in grave human rights violations including but not limited to: the use of live ammunition on unarmed civilians (including men, women, and children); massive and disproportionate use of force including the firing of missiles from Apache helicopter gunships against defenseless civilian populations; illegal mass arrests and institutionalized torture (including men, women, and children); the willful destruction of agricultural land; the deprivation of water; forced malnutrition with concomitant health consequences including stillborn deaths and irreversible developmental damage to children; the mass demolition of homes and confiscation of land; hostage taking and extra-judicial assassinations; denial of medical services to the sick and wounded; the use of human shields (including children); the targeting of schools, and hospitals; the building of illegal fortified "Jewish-only" Israeli colonies/settlements on confiscated land connected by "Jewish-only" bypass roads, and the heavily subsidized transfer of hundreds of thousands of its own civilian population into these colonies/settlements;
WHEREAS the International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel's Apartheid Wall violates international humanitarian law which governs Israel's administration of the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967 as well as the fundamental human rights of the Palestinians;
WHEREAS by virtue of, but not limited to, the Principles of the Nuremberg Charter and Judgment; The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights; The Geneva Conventions, in particular, but not limited to the 4th Geneva Convention, the Convention Against Torture, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, as well as other international covenants and the general humanitarian principles of international law, these acts constitute war crimes, and in some cases crimes against humanity.
WHEREAS, the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 USC sec. 2304, provides that "no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;"
WHEREAS, the UN General Assembly on October 22, 2003, reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and . . . reiterating its opposition to settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories almost unanimously, with the exception of the US, Israel
BE IT RESOLVED that the NLG seeks, in principal and practice, to support national and international campaigns to divest from Israel . . . and (a) support divestment campaigns to make full public disclosure of any and all investments it or other institutions have in Israel and of any and all profits earned from companies invested in Israel, and (b) either immediately divest from those companies, or cause such companies to disinvest from Israel until all of the following conditions are met: 1) Withdraw armed forces; 2) Permit interested refugees to return to their homes and compensate the rest; 3) End torture; 4) Vacate all Jewish-only settlement/colonies; 5) Compensate all Palestinian victims. (www.nlg.org)
National Union of Journalists-UK. 5/07.
NUJ votes for a boycott of Israeli goods in protest of last year’s Lebanon war and Israeli “aggression” in the territories.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign-Ireland.
Atlantic Homecare, a large Limerick store, removed all Israeli stock from its shelves in response to a picket by I-PSC (11/06). A pre-Valentines Day street protest (2/07) urged Dublin jewelers to "Give consumers the right to choose Israel-free Diamonds," and warned passers-by that "Israeli Blood Diamonds Are Forever...On Your Conscience." Hundreds of people signed petitions and accepted informational leaflets. (www.ipsc.ie; www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=A405_0_1_0_M)
Palestine Solidarity Campaign-Scotland
In 7/06 S-PSC helped stop the use of Prestwick Airport for transhipment of US weapons to Israel for attacks on Lebanon. It forces changes in venues for cricket games with Israeli teams. It boycotts Disney outlets in Scotland, citing Disney’s plans to add to its sizeable investments in Orad, an Israeli firm that provides electronic monitoring equipment for the Wall. (Disney also holds large investments in Tadiran, an Israeli military equipment firm.) “[T]his money will be used to help Israel continue its policies of colonization, land theft and slow ethnic cleansing.” (www.scottishpsc.org.uk)
Palestine Solidarity Campaign-UK
PSM asks consumers to Boycott Israeli Goods via the “BIG” Campaign. “BIG” stages colorful anti-import demonstrations in major British cities, focusing on items like avocadoes, peppers, flowers, or dates. It buys shares in companies like Tesco to pressure corporate boards to eliminate Israeli imports. In 6/06, Tesco agreed to phase out Israeli peppers due to consumer pressure. A key boycott target is Agrexco, Israel's largest exporter of fresh agricultural produce, selling in England under the Carmel, Coral and Jaffa brands. The company is 50% owned by the Israeli state. Much of its produce comes from illegal settlements that hire Palestinian workers at exploitative wages and working conditions.
The BIG campaign also boycotts Israeli tourism and Israeli cultural, sporting, and academic institutions and individuals who do not condemn the occupation. It seeks to end trade agreements between the EU, UK, and Israel, and it promotes an end to the arms trade, citing “Israel's appalling human rights record, grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and its ongoing occupation and settler-colonisation of Palestinian lands” and noting “widespread concerns that British-made equipment is being used against Palestinian civilians, in defiance of UK export criteria.” Finally, BIG seeks to increase trade in Palestinian goods. (www.bigcampaign.org)
Palestine Solidarity Movement - US. 2/06
PSM asks US universities, churches and other institutions to end financial support for companies linked with Israeli injustice. Their campaign is modeled after the successful effort to end apartheid in South Africa. PSM hosted university students and community activists in its 5th annual conference at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 2/06. (palestinesolidaritymovement.org)
People's Food Co-op - Ann Arbor. 6/07
Over 400 Co-op members and hundreds of passers-by signed a petition asking the popular Co-op grocery store to hold a referendum on a boycott of Israeli goods. The drive, initiated by B.I.G. (Boycott Israeli Goods)-Ann Arbor, spread information during weeks of leafletting and sidewalk discussions focusing on Palestinians' suffering and loss of basic human rights under Israeli repression. However, opponents threatened to withdraw their membership in the Co-op, harming its economic viability, and the formal vote by members failed in 9/07. Weavers Way Co-op in Philadelphia (2004) and Rainbow Co-op in San Francisco report similar experiences. <email@example.com>
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
RCF held a Peace Works Conference in 4/06 in Olympia, Washington, hometown of murdered activist Rachel Corrie. International speakers championed divestment and activism. One termed the Oslo peace process the “P-I-E-C-E process” since it “designated Palestinian areas for the first time, allowing Israel to create a system of more than 700 military checkpoints surrounding these areas in order to limit movement of Palestinians. Fewer than 30% of Palestinians can apply for a permit to travel to and from Palestinian areas, and only 10% of Palestinians get permits.” (rachelcorriefoundation.org)
Sanctions Against Israel Coalition - South Africa branch. 1/07
"We are making a call to mobilise South African workers," says Shaheed Mohamed, of SAIC - SA. We want all diamonds from Israel to be treated as conflict diamonds. We urge people not to buy diamonds from Israel." Mohamed says Israel imports South African diamonds, polishes, cuts them, and sells them back "at almost ten times the original value." Israel imports diamonds worth $430 million a year from South Africa, he says, adding that fully 30 percent of Israel's annual GDP (gross domestic product) comes from diamonds. (Inter Press Service (IPS), Johannesburg, 1/27/07)
Stop Cat Coalition
Stop Cat sponsors an annual Day of Action focused on Caterpillar headquarters in Peoria, Illinois, to demand that Caterpillar “cease all sales to the Israeli military and government” and abide by its own code of conduct which states “as a company, we strive to contribute toward a global environment in which all people can work safely and live healthy, productive lives.” The Coalition says Caterpillar’s D-9 bulldozer ”is directly implicated in grave abuses of human rights by Israeli Defense forces, including the collective punishment of the Palestinian people through house demolitions, clearing a path for and constructing the Apartheid Wall and murder of civilians”-- actions that “are illegal under international law -- specifically violating the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute of the International Court and the Hague Conventions.” The sale of the D-9 to the IDF also violates the US Arms Export Control Act. On the annual International Day of Action Against Caterpillar, protests are held in cities worldwide, and are organized in the US by Stop Cat, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Demonstrations at Caterpillar dealers are also held. Stop Cat provides informational videos and PowerPoint presentations. (stopcat.org/catdestroyshomes/org)
Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) - UK. 7/07
This British workers' union calls on its 800,000 members to boycott Israeli-made products based on Israel's "criminal policies in Palestinian territories."
UNISON - UK. 6/07
The major British public services union asks members to stop purchasing Israeli products, stating that "ending the occupation demands concerted and sustained pressure upon Israel, including an economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott." The intention is not to discriminate against the Israeli people themselves, says delegate Tracy Morgan: "The occupation needs to end so that everyone can live together. And I believe that Israelis and Palestinians do want to live together." The union will produce material on Palestine to build knowledge among members. (www.unison.org.uk/news/)
United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Middle East Peace
A Call to Action (9/06): The annual conference, meeting in Geneva, calls on the UN and its member states "To encourage and impose sanctions, in the form of ending the murderous arms trade with Israel, and to end sanctions that have been imposed against the elected Palestinian Authority and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people." The group will expand its global campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions, adopted in 2005, and will mark the 40th anniversary of the Occupation with a global Day of Action on June 9, 2007, under the slogan "The World Says No to Israeli Occupation." The Civil Society's follow-up work is carried out by ICNP, the International Coordinating Committee on Palestine. (www.un.org/depts/dpa/qpalnew/dpr.htm)
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
The US Campaign supports municipal and state divestment initiatives. It provides divestment resources to inform, educate and mobilize the public about the US government’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the way cities, states, trade unions and other organizations help sustain the occupation through investment funds. The Campaign's member groups call on municipal, state and federal governing bodies to issue statements opposing the occupation. There is no single way to approach divestment. It is up to activists to decide what practices would work best in their localities. A key focus in 2008 is Motorola Corp, which supplies radar devices for settlements and the separation wall, fuses for aerial explositves like cluster bombs, and specialized cellphones for the IDF. The Campaign has a continuing focus on Caterpillar Corp. (www.endtheoccupation.org/}
U2U, Belgian Hi-Tech Company Joins EU Trend. 9/06
"U2U does not wish to tie itself with Israeli products," the firm's manager told his Israeli suitor, citing "the devastating and inhumane war crimes Israel perpetrated in Lebanon" and "the apartheid regime" it inflicts on Palestine. The Israeli hi-tech representative says he countered that "Israel is a technological hub and that many of the Microsoft products which [you use] are developed here in Haifa." The Belgian manager, however, declined. Israel's Ynet News reports similar refusals from numerous European firms that took the stance of the U2U manager: "I hope that the political situation in your country will radically change and will be based on peace and respect to non-Jewish cultures." (www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3308579,00.html)
Veterans for Peace
VFP, a 20-year-old US veterans’ organization, adopted Economic Support For Justice And Peace In Palestine at its National Conference, 8/05. The resolution states that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a major international flashpoint; people of the region are suffering from militarization; the US is the largest single source of governmental financial aid to Israel; and all forms of intervention have failed to achieve Israeli compliance with international law as embodied in UN resolutions and world court decisions (and supported by peace activists in Israel). Therefore, inspired by the South African struggle and the international solidarity which made it effective, and in support of the call by more than 170 Palestinian political parties, unions, and organizations for such economic actions, “Veterans For Peace calls for boycott, divestment, and other actions against economic activities that support Israel’s continued occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and the denial of fundamental human rights to Palestinians both in Israel and in the occupied territories until the Government of Israel complies with international law and the universal principles of human rights. VFP urges members and chapters to support such economic actions which seem to them best calculated to bring about a change in Israeli government policy for the benefit of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.” (veteransforpeace.org/)
Vlaams Palestina Komitee. Flanders. 6/05
Protestors launched a boycott of Israeli goods, stripping supermarket shelves of Yarden wines, Sabra salads, and Jaffa and Carmel fresh produce, while urging customers to stop buying Israeli products.
War on Want
WoW (UK) asks people “to challenge the global structures which sustain poverty across the world.” In Palestine, it says, “Caterpillar’s armoured bulldozers have been responsible for the destruction of thousands of Palestinian homes, schools, wells and olive groves” in a systematic campaign to destroy the Palestinian economy and demoralize residents. Caterpillar bulldozers are currently used in almost every significant operation by Israeli forces, and in fact they are, according to one Israeli military commander, ‘the key weapon.’ WoW reported in 2005 that the Israeli army currently has around 100 D9s in operation. D9s are modified by state-owned Israeli Military Industries and by Ramta, a division of Israel Aircraft Industries. Some bulldozers have customized packages, including machine gun mounts, smoke projectors and grenade launchers. The Israeli military recently ordered 25 D9 armored bulldozers reinforced by Israel Aircraft Industries, while the US Department of Defense acquired 14 armored Caterpillar D9Rs from the Israeli army for use in Iraq. WoW asks people to boycott Caterpillar products—from construction equipment to clothing and footwear—and to buy Zaytoun fair-trade olive oil to help redress the damage caused to Palestinian farmers. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
West Asia Conference on War, Imperialism and Resistance. New Delhi, 3/07
The conference calls for boycott, disinvestments and sanctions on Israel as long as it continues its occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories, demands that the Government of India immediately break its military and security ties with Israel, noting that India has become the largest importer of arms from Israel. The Conference "welcomes the advisory judgement of the International Court of Justice on the Apartheid Wall and calls for immediate measures by the international community for dismantling this illegal Wall. The Wall built by Israel across the West Bank has cut off the Palestinian people from each other, cutting up the Palestinian territory into a number of enclaves, with large Israeli settlements established on lands confiscated from Palestinian people. Israel’s so-called 'disengagement' is in fact a re-arrangement of Occupation. It has turned all of Gaza into a vast prison with the Palestinian population there under continuous, murderous assaults and a permanent state of siege. "
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Canadian Section
In 12/05, WILPF-Canada wrote INTEL’s Board Chairman and CEO: “Let INTEL not be wooed by Israel’s $525 million grant incentive to expand INTEL’s existing microprocessing factory in Israel. The site of the proposed expansion is Kiryat Gat, on land expropriated from the Palestinian village of Iraq Al-Manshiya. By further building there, you are denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their land.” (email@example.com)
Women in Black Boycotts Israel Philharmonic in Los Angeles (2/07)
"Maybe it's the artists and musicians who will finally bring peace and justice to Israel, Palestine and the region." This was the plea of Women in Black-Los Angeles, asking members of the Israel Philharmonic to make a public call for an end to the Occupation, thus creating "a huge positive ripple effect on Israeli society." Receiving no such assurance, silent vigilers held candles outside Disney Hall during two performances. The Philharmonic is called "Israel's flagship" by conductor Zubin Mehta, and is supported by the Israeli government. It has played for soldiers in the field and is an instrument of government policies, says Women in Black. WIB is an international movement of both women and men, standing against violence and for justice. It was founded in Israel in 1988 to oppose the Occupation. The L.A. vigils were endorsed by the Middle East Peace Fellowship of Southern California, by A.N.S.W.E.R. and by Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid (CEIA). (www.wib-la.org)
Corrie Family Lawsuit vs. Caterpillar, Inc. (3/15/05). A civil action seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Caterpillar for violations of international and state law committed against Rachel Corrie, including war crimes; aiding and abetting her extra-judicial killing; complicity in cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment . . . that resulted in her death; negligence; and wrongful death.
The suit, filed in US District Court in Seattle, Washington, states:
“On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, a peace activist and United States citizen, was killed by a Caterpillar bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home.
“2. This lawsuit alleges that Caterpillar, Inc., has aided and abetted or otherwise been complicit in the Israel Defense Forces (hereinafter “IDF”) in the above-mentioned human rights violations and war crimes by providing the bulldozers used to demolish homes of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in violation of international law when it knew, or should have known, that such bulldozers were being used to commit human rights abuses.
“3. The IDF has destroyed approximately 10,000 Palestinian homes since 1967 leaving approximately 50,000 men, women, and children homeless. Over the last four years, the IDF has destroyed 4,100 homes. Upon information and belief, Caterpillar, Inc. has supplied bulldozers to the IDF that have been used in such demolitions since 1967.” (www.catdestroyshomes.org/downloads/final.corriecomplaint.3.15.pdf)
International authors, film-makers, musicians and performers ask colleagues not to visit, exhibit or perform in Israel. By 12/06, nearly 100 artists, including Brian Eno, Sophie Fiennes, and Arundhati Roy had signed a boycott letter written by noted author John Berger, stating "the day to day brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank continues. Ten Palestinians are killed for every Israeli death,. . .UN resolutions are flouted, human rights violated as Palestinian land is stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed. For Archbishop Desmond Tutu...the situation of the Palestinians is worse than that of black South Africans under apartheid. Meantime, Western governments refer to Israel's 'legitimate right' of self-defence, and continue to supply weaponry. The challenge of apartheid was fought better. The non-violent international response was boycott, divestment, and finally UN sanctions that enabled the regime to change without terrible bloodshed." Artists can endorse the letter at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ken Loach, British film director who won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2006, announces his support for an Israeli boycott, 8/06: “Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians,” Loach said. “They have no immediate hope that this oppression will end. As British citizens we have to acknowledge our own responsibility. We must condemn the British and US governments for supporting and arming Israel.” He added, “I would decline any invitation to the Haifa Film Festival [to which he had been invited] or other such occasions." (www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/755249.html)
Rock Star Roger Waters says in Israel: "Tear Down This Wall!." 6/06.
Waters moved a June 2006 concert away from Tel Aviv, met with Palestinian artists, and called openly for "an end to Israeli oppression" during his Israeli performance. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said Waters "came a long way" towards observing their boycott principles, which entail taking a stand against Israel's occupation and refusing to come to Israel for performances, conferences, or festivals except in "the context of supporting the struggle." (www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=A255_0_1_0_M)
GOVERNMENTAL AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS:
Dublin Tram System, 8/06. Tram drivers refused to allow the Dublin tram system (“Luas”) to be used to train Israeli drivers and engineers for a new light-rail system in East Jerusalem that will serve illegal settlements. In response, the local Irish authority, Veolia, cancelled its training plan with Connex, the French firm that will operate the Israeli system (and that also operates Dublin trams). “When you do business with Israel, you invariably do business with the Occupation,” says a representative of the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Committee, congratulating the tram drivers on their stand. “We must cut ties with Israel in order to force it to end its Occupation.” (www.scottishpsc.org.uk/)
Green Party, US, 11/05, “calls for divestment from and boycott of the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized. The party calls on all civil society institutions and organizations around the world to implement a comprehensive divestment and boycott program. The party calls on all governments to support this program and to implement state-level boycotts.” (email@example.com)
The Norwegian Provincial Parliament of the Soer-Trondeleim district, representing about 7% of the population of Norway, including Trondheim, the third largest city, voted on 12/05 to “completely and totally” prohibit the purchase or sale of Israeli products by all provincial government bodies and to launch an awareness campaign calling on the populace to do the same. Significantly, this Parlia-ment was the first Norwegian government body to boycott South African Apartheid. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
UK House of Commons Select Committee on International Development. 1/31/07
The Select Committee reports severe limitations on Palestinian trade and development caused by Israeli restrictions on movement and access to goods and markets. Meanwhile, the European Union continues to boost the Israeli economy by giving preferential treatment to Israeli products in European markets through a trade agreement. The Select Committee notes this "incongruity" and says "the UK should urge the EU to use its Agreement with Israel as a lever for change and to consider suspending the Agreement until there are further improvements in access arrangements." (www.parliament.uk/indcom)
United Kingdom government officials barred US flights from Prestwick Airport in Scotland. 8/06. The planes were carrying bombs to Israel for attacks on Lebanon. Diversion to RAF military bases for refueling followed talks between the Scots Secretary and the UK Defense and Foreign Secretaries. After a meeting with the US Consul, Scottish Parliament Member Patrick Harvie of the Green Party reported: “We tried to convey the extreme concern, indeed disgust, among the Scottish public and politicians that a Scottish airport is being used to ferry arms to Israel.“ (dailyrecord.co.uk/news/)
Numerous universities have divestment drives which inform and activate. Here are three approaches:
Howard University, 3/07.
The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences voted overwhelmingly to ask the Board of Trustees to divest from companies that are "offering material support to Israeli Occupation." The resolution adopted the approach of the University of Wisconsin Platteville faculty (see below) and a recent divestment action citing Sudan for violations in Darfur. The movement in this historically Black university in Washington, DC, was initially stymied when Howard President Patrick Swygert rejected it outright. Faculty leaders planned to reintroduce it "in the hope that the resolution spread around the country and generate action comparable to the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s." (www.jai-pal.org/content.php?page=501)
The University of Wisconsin Divestment from Israel Campaign,
A coalition of groups and individuals in the University and the state, began in 2005 circulating a petition, asking the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents “to divest from any company doing business with or in the State of Israel until . . . Israel accepts and facilitates the full implementation of the individual and collective human rights of the Palestinian people.” The petition cites Israeli “policies of encapsulation, expropriation, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian population,” depriving them of “residency rights, the right to work, and the right to equality before the law.”
In a related action, The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP), a statewide local of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, representing faculty and academic staff from 25 UW campuses, in 4/05 adopted a divestment resolution, naming companies that “provide material aid to the Israeli Army in the form of weapons, equipment, and supporting systems used to perpetrate human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians” – including Boeing, Caterpillar, General Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon. TAUWP’s resolution notes that the Regents’ policies prohibit such investments. Divestment is a positive step that may lay “the groundwork for a just and enduring peace and is therefore an expression of the hope for a free and secure future for every Israeli and Palestinian currently suffering under the burden of conflict.” Notably, the Faculty Senate of one UW branch (Platteville) was the first such faculty body in the nation to pass a divestment resolution (1/25/05), citing “violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people,” enabled by the named U.S. arms companies. (email@example.com)
The University of Michigan Campaign On the Question of Divestment from Israel/Palestine:
In 2/05, the UM-Dearborn campus Student Government passed a resolution calling for immediate divestment from Israel. This was the first time any UM student group had passed such a resolution, and was one of the first nationwide.
The students called for outright divestment, but faculty decided to follow a more formal process. As spelled out by the UM Regents in 1978: If an issue "involves serious moral or ethical questions which are of concern to many members of the University community, then "an advisory committee will be appointed." These conditions were employed with respect to South Africa in 1978 and with tobacco stocks in 2000. In both cases divestment was recommended and implemented.
An ad hoc group of faculty members from the Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses drafted a "Letter of Support for an Inquiry into Divestment" and began circulating a petition calling on the UM administration, not to divest, but simply to establish an advisory committee and investigate if divestment is warranted. The inquiry would lay out the full extent of University investments in both Israel and Palestine and determine which, if any, are implicated in illegal and immoral actions occurring there. The committee would solicit comments from members of the UM community, weigh the arguments, and then make a recommendation.
Petition Calling for the Formation of a University of Michigan Divestment Committee on Israel/Palestine: The petition states in part: “Whereas, the undersigned believe that any University investments in entities contributing to human rights violations by either Israelis or Palestinians is inappropriate, the undersigned call for the formation by the University of Michigan of an advisory committee consisting of members of the University Senate, students, administration and alumni to determine if any University investments are questionable and in need of appropriate corrective actions.” The petition, signed by faculty, staff, students, and alumni, will be presented to UM Regents, UM President Mary Sue Coleman, and other officials. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
London School of Economics Student Union (LSESU). 2/08
After weeks of debate, nearly 400 LSESU students voted 6-to-1 to call on their university and on the National Union of Students to divest from companies that provide military and commercial support for the Israeli occupation. The Union also resolved to join international campaigns to end the siege of Gaza and to publicize Israel's discriminatory policies more widely. (email@example.com)
National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (UK) 5/06
Britain’s largest faculty association voted to urge its 67,000 members to “consider the appropriateness of a boycott” of Israeli faculty who fail to “publicly dissociate themselves” from Israel’s “apartheid policies, including construction of the exclusion wall and discriminatory educational practices.” They ask British college teachers “to consider their own responsibility for ensuring equity and nondiscrimination in contacts with Israeli educational institutions or individuals.” (www.natfhe.org.uk/)
University and College Union (UCU) - UK. 5/07
UK university and other higher education teachers vote to support a campaign for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions at the first Annual Congress of their new union, UCU, in 2007. UCU, with 100,000 members, combines two previous UK academic unions that merged in 2006. Members are asked to initiate one year of informed debate on British campuses, to consider the moral implications of links with Israeli universities, to review the Palestinian boycott call, and to link with Palestinian educational institutions. The move echoes the 2006 call of 61 Irish academics for a boycott of Israeli universities. However, the future of the UCU boycott appeared in doubt in 8/07 when lawyers retained by union leaders termed an academic boycott illegal, a decision strongly disputed by BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine). (www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/09/382271.html; www.bricup.org.uk)