FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2012
On July 17, 2012, human rights organizations will take part in a series of nationwide protests (details below) to coincide with the annual meeting of the College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) being held in New York City. These organizations will be urging the pension fund giant to fully divest its holdings from companies that profit from and enable Israeli violations of international law and abuses of Palestinian human rights.
In New York, TIAA-CREF shareholders will be attending the annual meeting to question new trustees about their stance on profiting from companies whose products are used by the Israeli military in grave and systematic human rights violations. “We are here to remind TIAA-CREF that their investments destroy Palestinian schools, make Palestinian families homeless, and deny Palestinians freedom of movement,” said Allison Brown of Adalah-NY, a We Divest Campaign coalition partner. “These are not investments ‘for the greater good.’”
Since 2010, We Divest has been urging TIAA-CREF to drop Caterpillar and other companies that profit from and facilitate Israel’s 45-year-old military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Just last month, We Divest broke the news that TIAA-CREF had sold more than $72 million in Caterpillar shares from its Social Choice fund, following the lead of influential ethical investment ratings agency MSCI, which downgraded Caterpillar in February. In a statement released June 25, MSCI cited the “on-going controversy associated with use of the company’s equipment in the occupied Palestinian territories” as one of the “key factors” in its decision.
“While we are pleased about TIAA-CREF’s decision to follow MSCI’s recommendation to drop Caterpillar from their Social Choice fund, this does not signal the end of our campaign,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, We Divest National Coordinator. “Our campaign is only growing stronger in the wake of the socially responsible investment community’s recognition that Caterpillar is complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights. We will continue our work until TIAA-CREF divests completely from all companies that profit from the Israeli occupation, including Caterpillar, Northrop Grumman, Veolia, Elbit, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard.”
The We Divest Campaign was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace in July 2010 and includes the American Friends Service Committee, Adalah-NY, Grassroots International, the US Palestinian Community Network, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
WHEN and WHERE (New York City):
Tuesday, July 17, at 1 pm ET TIAA-CREF Office (730 Third Avenue)
WHEN and WHERE (Chicago):
Tuesday, July 17, rally at 12 pm CT at the Thompson Center (100 W. Randolph Street–in front of the white statue); protest at 12:45 pm CT at TIAA-CREF office in Chicago (200 N. LaSalle St.)
WHEN and WHERE (San Francisco):
Tuesday, July 17, 12 pm – 1:15 pm PT, in front of the TIAA-CREF office in SF at 560 Mission, between 1st and 2nd Sts.
Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace
Nancy Kricorian, Adalah-NY
Jennifer Bing, AFSC-Chicago