We are participants and investors in TIAA-CREF funds who are deeply concerned that TIAA-CREF invests in many companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Some of these companies provide weapons and covert surveillance supplies that maintain the occupation by force. Others take or exploit Palestinian resources, including scarce water and even the land itself. All are profiting from Israel’s violations of international law and international human rights standards.
* CATERPILLAR profits from the destruction of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of Palestinian orchards by supplying the armor-plated and weaponized bulldozers that are used for such demolition work.
* VEOLIA profits from the construction and expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements by operating a landfill in the West Bank, exploiting Palestinian natural resources to serve the settlements, and by contracting for the future operation of an illegal light rail system connecting these settlements with Jerusalem.
* NORTHROP GRUMMAN profits from the production of parts for the Apache helicopters and F-16 aircrafts used by Israel against civilians in Gaza during Israel’s 2008-09 assault.
* ELBIT profits from the confiscation of Palestinian land by providing surveillance equipment that is mounted on the Separation Wall, which was declared unlawful by the International Court of Justice.
* MOTOROLA profits from Israel’s control of the Palestinian population by providing surveillance systems around Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and military camps in the West Bank, as well as communication systems to the Israeli army and West Bank settlers.
While the specific companies held change over time, TIAA-CREF’s investment criteria do not screen out such investments, which are incompatible with our values and with corporate social responsibility.
Out of commitment to equality, freedom and international law, we therefore urgently request that:
* TIAA-CREF divest from companies that:
o Directly profit from or contribute to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
o Provide products or services that contribute to the construction and maintenance of Israeli settlements and/or the Separation Wall, both of which are illegal under international law.
o Provide products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts that target civilians.
* TIAA-CREF establish investment criteria to exclude any such companies in the future.
For almost 100 years, TIAA-CREF has striven to provide financial services for the greater good, helping those of us in the academic, medical, cultural, and research fields to plan for and live in retirement. Please help us invest the fruit of our labor and enjoy our retirement in good conscience.