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For Immediate Release: September 25th, 2012

Media Release: Friends Fiduciary Corporation Divests from Hewlett Packard and Veolia, Citing Sales to Israel and Social Concerns

September 25, 2012

Anna Baltzer
National Organizer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Friends Fiduciary Corporation Divests from Hewlett Packard and Veolia, Citing Sales to Israel and Social Concerns

This week, the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) has become the first U.S. national fund to divest from Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Veolia Environment following concerns expressed by Palestinian rights advocates about the companies' involvement in the Israeli occupation. At last count, FFC held investments of more than $250,000 in HP and more than $140,000 in Veolia.

FFC handles investments for over 300 Quaker meetings, schools, organizations, trusts, and endowments around the U.S., with over $200 million in assets. According to the Executive Director of FFC, Hewlett Packard was dropped for providing information technology consulting services to the Israeli Navy, while Veolia Environment was removed due to "environmental and social concerns."

Earlier this year, FFC divested $900,000 of Caterpillar shares, citing its "zero tolerance for weapons and weapons components."

HP maintains a biometric ID system used in Israeli checkpoints for racial profiling; manages the Israeli Navy's IT infrastructure; and supplies the Israeli army with other equipment and services used to maintain its military occupation. Veolia is involved in a light rail linking illegal Israeli settlements with cities in Israel; it operates segregated bus lines through the occupied West Bank; and it operates a landfill and a waste water system that dumps Israeli waste on Palestinian land. Caterpillar produces and sells bulldozers to Israel that are weaponized and used to destroy Palestinian homes, schools, hospitals, and olive groves.

2012 has proven to be a landmark year in the global campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. To cite just two examples:

Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley Capital Investment decided this year to remove the company from its list of socially responsible companies, prompting financial giant TIAA-CREF's divestment of more than $72 million in shares of the company previously held in TIAA-CREF's Social Choice Fund.

Then, earlier this month, the Student Union of the massive University of California (UC) system voted to protect students' free speech rights to advocate BDS on campus and demanded that UC stop profiting from Israel's abuses of Palestinian rights. Currently, UC invests millions in Caterpillar and HP. The motion passed by a vote of 12 to 0 (with 2 abstentions).

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a national coalition of almost 400 organizations around the country working to change U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality.