Darfur was a no-brainer for divestment by TIAA-CREF– why not the occupation?

by Philip Weiss on June 17, 2010

Yesterday, Jewish Voice for Peace announced a major new divestment campaign aimed at convincing TIAA-CREF, the huge retirement fund that serves workers in the academic, cultural and medical fields, to divest from companies that serve the occupation of Palestine. JVP already has 250 signatures on its new petition, and it states that TIAA-CREF is invested in Caterpillar, Veolia, Elbit, and Motorola, all of which serve the occupation. Why TIAA-CREF? From JVP’s q-and-a:

1. TIAA-CREF is big, the biggest fund of its kind in the world. If we help them change their policies, this will be a substantial blow to the Occupation and a model for other socially responsible financial managers to emulate.

2. TIAA-CREF is near you. With 60 offices in the US and 15,000 client institutions in the academic, research, medical, cultural and nonprofit fields, chances are that wherever you may be in the country, you will find a network of TIAA-CREF participants close to you.

3. TIAA-CREF cares about socially responsible investment. In 2009, TIAA-CREF divested from four petrochemical companies that were profiting from Sudan”s oppression of the people and exploitation of the natural resources of Darfur. However, the company continues to invest in companies that reap profits from the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and violations of Palestinian rights. Until it divests, TIAA-CREF violates its own ethical principles and is complicit in Israel”s breaches of international law and violations of human rights.

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