Showing posts with label TIAA-CREF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TIAA-CREF. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 Years Later: BDS Breaks Through! July 9 We Divest Day of Action

Mark your calendars! The We Divest Campaign has called for a national day of action on July 9, which marks the 10 year anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s historic ruling declaring Israel's wall on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal.

Below are materials to help with planning your day of action.

  • Not sure how you will participate? If you already have a local BDS campaign running, head to your target on July 9th. Don’t yet have a campaign? Here are some ideas: 
    • Go to your local TIAA-CREF office.
    • Head or to a place where one of our target companies has corporate offices or sells products. 
    • Focus on the company Elbit, in solidarity with Stop the Wall's month of action. 
    • Do a BDS tour: march around town to various stores that sell products from target companies. 
    • Go to a public place where there’s lots of foot traffic!
    • Don’t have a local group? No problem. Take action online by joining our social media team to be on call on July 9th.
  • Want to dance in a Pink Floyd-parody flash mob?  Below are lyrics, here is a recording of the song, and email for a video of the dance!
  • Want to connect with activists planning actions in other cities? Save the date for a national planning call on Monday, June 23, at 8:00pm EDT/5:00pm PDT. 
Will your group participate? Email to let us know!

We Divest Day of Action 2014 Coordinating Committee

Another Brick in the Wall

We don't need no occupation (Divest! Divest!)
We don't need no swat patrol  (Divest! Divest!)
Cat's bulldozing West Bank classrooms (Divest! Divest!)
That's not for the greater good 
Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett Packard, SodaStream
Hey, T-Cref, leave them kids alone!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall 

We don't need no Northrop Grumman (Divest! Divest!)
Death and mayhem from above (Divest! Divest!)
Motorola's no Solution (Divest! Divest!)
For Palestine let's show some love
Northrop Grumman, Veolia, Sodastream, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar
Hey, T-Cref, your dollars flatten homes!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall

We don't need Veolia Light Rail (Divest! Divest!)
Seizing East Jerusalem (Divest! Divest!)
Divest from Elbit's ammunition (Divest! Divest!)
And yes they helped to built the wall
Hewlett Packard, Northrop Grumman, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S
Hey, T-Cref, look how apartheid's grown!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall

Monday, July 15, 2013

TIAA-CREF Drops SodaStream!

The We Divest Team just shared the exciting news that TIAA-CREF is no longer invested in SodaStream! You can read the press release here:

Please start tweeting the press release to help spread the word! Here are some sample tweets for you to use, and please also keep an eye on @WeDivest for infographics and more tweets!

  • Keep it Up @TC_Talks! Last year dropped @CaterpillarInc, this year sold off @SodaStreamUSA, next year Veolia? #wedivest

  • Selling off SodaStream is 4 the greater good @TC_Talks! Ur helping illegal Israeli settlements fizzle out! #wedivest

  • Good for @TC_Talks refusing to no longer drink the oppression flavor of SodaStream! Keep it up TIAA-CREF! #wedivest

  • Now that pension fund TIAA-CREF has sold off its share to #SodaStream, will #Veolia be next?

  • Bravo to TIAA-CREF for selling off shares in @SodaStreamUSA! Next year, Veolia? #wedivest @TC_Talks

  • Breaking! @SodaStreamUSA’s relationship with TIAA-CREF fizzles: #wedivest @TC_Talks

  • Retirement giant TIAA-CREF drops controversial Israeli settlement company @SodaStreamUSA: #wedivest @TC_Talks 

Also share these memes. Download them here. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Israeli Court Fails to Provide Justice in Killing of Rachel Corrie

Human Rights Advocates Intensify Call for Divestment as Israeli Court Fails to Provide Justice in Killing of American Peace Activist 

We Divest Campaign, a national coalition demanding pension fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, is intensifying its call for divestment from Caterpillar Inc. in the wake of an Israeli court ruling today siding with the government in the civil court case brought by the Corrie family. The case alleged that the State of Israel was responsible for the killing of 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by a Caterpillar bulldozer as she attempted to use nonviolent civil disobedience to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes by the Israeli army in Gaza in March 2003. The court’s decision followed an Israeli investigation that the US ambassador to Israel recently criticized as lacking credibility. 

In a series of actions timed to coincide with the issuing of the verdict, human rights advocates in cities across the US will protest in front of local TIAA-CREF offices this week and deliver
a letter urging trustees to divest fully from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories. The We Divest Campaign is supported by the Corrie family and the Rachel Corrie Foundation

“At the time of her death, Rachel was trying to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes by Caterpillar bulldozers,” said Riham Barghouti, a member of the We Divest National Coordinating Committee. “Israel’s illegal policy of destroying Palestinian homes in the occupied territories, sometimes extending to entire villages, remains as urgent an issue today as it was when Rachel was killed. In Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and Hebron Hills, Palestinians continue to live with the daily threat of their homes and property being confiscated or demolished by Israeli authorities. If TIAA-CREF trustees want to live up to their motto of investing ‘for the greater good,’ they must stop profiting from companies such as Caterpillar that are enabling Israel to carry out such gross human rights violations.” 

While TIAA-CREF recently dropped $72 million worth of Caterpillar shares from its social choice funds, following the lead of ethical investment ratings agency MSCI, which downgraded Caterpillar in February in part
over concerns about the use of the company’s products by the Israeli military, it continues to invest over $1 billion in Caterpillar through its general fund.

The We Divest Campaign is a national coalition 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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tell TIAA-CREF: Divest from the Israeli Occupation!

On Tuesday, July 17 several of our member groups are planning actions around TIAA-CREF's shareholders' meeting to demand that TIAA-CREF live up to its motto "For the Greater Good" and divest from all its holdings in companies profiting from the violation of international law and Palestinian human rights. 

Adalah-NY is planning a 
street action with songs, music, dancing, and chants from 12:30-2:30pm at TIAA-CREF headquarters in New York (730 3rd Ave, between 45th and 46th Sts). Find more information and RSVP on Facebook

In Chicago several groups, including American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, and 
Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, are holding a rally and protest. Rally will begin at 12:00pm with speeches by Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah, community leaders, and shareholders at the Thompson Center (100 W. Randolph Street). There will then be a protest at 12:45pm in front of the TIAA-CREF office (200 N. LaSalle St.). Find more information and RSVP on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Anti-BDS Propaganda Fail

The anti-BDS crowd has been dealt a major blow to their propaganda attempts this week after MSCI made it clear that Israel was a major factor in its decision to remove Caterpillar from three of its popular indexes that track socially responsible investments.

Last week several pro-Israel groups claimed that, once again, the "BDS Movement Tells Lies and Creates Pretend 'Victories'" and that TIAA-CREF's decision to remove $72 million in Caterpillar shares from its Social Choice Fund had nothing to do with Israel.  

But from an MSCI statement issued June 25: 
“The key factors determining the rating include a January 2012 labor dispute and subsequent plant closing in Canada, an on-going controversy associated with use of the company’s equipment in the occupied Palestinian territories, management of environmental issues, and employee safety."
This doesn't mean that Caterpillar is willing to get the message just yet. Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said in a statement: "We hope and wish for a peaceful resolution to the unrest in the Middle East, but that solution is a political matter to be worked out by the appropriate parties. Caterpillar does not and should not have a role in that political process." But apparently Caterpillar has no problem having a role in destroying Palestinian homes and being complicit in Israeli human rights abuses

The Israeli government is in even greater denial. "Mixing politics and the economy in such a desperate and biased manner makes for very poor economic results and even poorer politics," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.
"As long as they [Palestinians] spend their time on negative hate campaigns instead of building their own society and economy, they will be on the losing side at the end of the day."

The desperate attempts to spin this clear
BDS victory for human rights into something else is just another sign of the increasing success of BDS activism both in the United States and across the world. We have to use this win to push harder to end corporate complicity in Israeli occupation and apartheid. 

Sign our letter
to the Presbyterian Church-USA urging them to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solution and HP. Register for our National Organizers' Conference at St. Louis University September 21-23 to strengthen BDS efforts. And check out our website for more ideas on how you can get involved.

Join TIAA-CREF Vigil in Chicago!

Chicago Divests, a coalition that includes US Campaign member groups American Friends Service CommitteeThe Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace, is holding a vigil this Friday, June 29 at 12pm in Chicago (200 N LaSalle Street) to recognize TIAA-CREF's recent divestment from Caterpillar and urge the financial firm to continue divesting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. 

From Chicago Divests press release: 
TIAA-CREF, one of the nation's largest retirement fund providers, invests $2.3 billion in corporations profiting from human rights abuses in occupied Palestine. After years of grassroots campaigning and shareholder pressure, TIAA-CREF removed Caterpillar from its Social Choice Accounts last Thursday. Caterpillar provides bulldozers to Israel military and civil authorities for the systematic destruction of Palestinian homes, orchards, and businesses.  Caterpillar used to enjoy $73 million of financial support from TIAA-CREF's social choice accounts, which are designed to "favor companies with a 'best-in-class' record on environmental, social and corporate governance issues." Now, TIAA-CREF can no longer claim that Caterpillar's facilitation of ethnic cleansing is compatible with "financial services for the greater good." We applaud TIAA-CREF for recognizing Caterpillar as an ethically irresponsible investment and for giving its clients the option of a Caterpillar-free Social Choice fund. 
Find more information and RSVP on Facebook.

The Presbyterian Church-USA will be voting on divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola Solution and HP in the next week.
Almost 4,000 people have already signed a letter supporting the divestment recommendation and you should too

Make sure to join us for our
11th Annual National Organizers' Conference September 21-23 at St. Louis University to learn how you can get more involved in BDS and other efforts to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BDS WIN: TIAA-CREF Removes Caterpillar from Social Choice Funds

Press Release from We Divest Campaign 

Caterpillar Removed from TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Funds

Victory for Pro-divestment Advocates

June 21, 2012- Pension fund giant TIAA-CREF has removed Caterpillar, Inc. from its Social Choice Funds portfolio. As of May 1, 2012, financial data posted on TIAA-CREF’s website valued Social Choice Funds shares in Caterpillar at $72,943,861. Today it is zero.

“We applaud this decision,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, Director of Campaigns at Jewish Voice for Peace and National Coordinator of the We Divest Campaign ( “It’s long past time that TIAA-CREF began living up to its motto of ‘Financial Services for the Greater Good’ when it comes to the people of Israel and Palestine.” 

Since 2010, We Divest has been urging TIAA-CREF to drop Caterpillar and other companies profiting from and facilitating Israel’s 45-year-old military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

“By selling weaponized bulldozers to Israel, Caterpillar is complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights,” said Rabbi Wise. “We’re glad to see that the socially responsible investment community appears to be recognizing this and is starting to take appropriate action.”

Caterpillar has come under increasing criticism from human rights organizations in recent years for continuing to supply bulldozers to Israel, which uses them to demolish Palestinian civilian homes and destroy crops and agricultural land in the occupied territories, and to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

In the coming weeks, many will be watching the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly taking place in Pittsburgh, where church commissioners will vote on a motion to divest from Caterpillar and two other companies, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard, that remain in TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Funds.

Last month, Friends Fiduciary, a Quaker institution, divested $900,000 worth of shares in Caterpillar stating: “We are uncomfortable defending our position on this stock.”

What Others are Saying

Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights activist and founding member of the BDS movement said, “CAT is out of the bag of TIAA-CREF’s socially responsible companies thanks to the inspiring campaign waged by JVP and its partners, with vision, persistence and tactical skillfulness. Palestinian civil society, represented by the BDS National Committee (BNC), deeply appreciates these efforts and believes that more pressure will ultimately convince TIAA-CREF to fulfill its basic moral obligation to finally divest from CAT and all other corporations that are complicit in Israel’s grave and escalating violations of international law and human rights.”

Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel Corrie’s parents said, “For nearly a decade, we have witnessed human rights abuses committed with Caterpillar equipment in the West Bank and Gaza and have joined thousands who have asked the company to stop supporting these actions.  We are hugely gratified that TIAA-CREF has taken this step.  When governments and corporations avoid responsibility, we must refuse to profit from their abuses. Our family salutes and thanks TIAA-CREF for this decision that moves all of us closer to accountability.”

Jennifer Bing, Middle East Program Director of the Chicago office of the American Friends Service Committee, a member organization of the We Divest Campaign Coordinating Committee, said, “As a TIAA-CREF client institution which has divested from Caterpillar ourselves, we are encouraged to see this first, great step toward creating a complete occupation-free portfolio that my colleagues and I are eager to have as an investment option.”

Samia Shafi of Adalah-NY, a member organization of the We Divest Campaign Coordinating Committee, said,  “This small, positive first step shows that TIAA-CREF is not immune to pressure for human rights for Palestinians. Our We Divest Campaign will continue pressuring TIAA-CREF until we win full divestment from all companies in TIAA-CREF’s portfolio that profit from violations of Palestinian human rights.”

Anna Baltzer, National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation — a coalition of more than 380 organizations around the country — and a member group of the We Divest Campaign Coordinating Committee, stated: “After years of Caterpillar refusing to change its practices, we are gratified that the U.S. corporation and others like it are seeing that support for Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies comes at a dear cost. There can be no more business as usual with such institutions. The tide is turning.”

Continue Reading

Friday, March 30, 2012

TIAA-CREF Stop Supporting Occupation

In honor of Palestinian Land Day, students from Palestine and colleges and universities around the United States have joined the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)- both US Campaign coalition members- in sending a video message to one of the largest financial services companies in the United States: divest from corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation.  

The video below calls on TIAA-CREF to end its investments in corporations that profit from Israel's military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.  Some of these corporations include Veolia, Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar that often provide services or products on US campuses, but also help to entrench the system of inequality and military occupation in Israel and Palestine.

Watch the video below and then join over 24,000 people of conscience who have already signed the petition to ask TIAA-CREF to stop investing in companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. 

Make sure to share with your friends and tweet to @TC_Talks to stop supporting Israel's occupation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is TIAA-CREF backing away from its claim to provide financial services "for the greater good"?

Member group Adalah-NY recently brought to light changes to the TIAA-CREF website, which no longer features the slogan, "For the Greater Good" as prominently as it once did.  For more information about TIAA-CREF click here.

Sometime between March 19 and April 4 2011, the giant financial services organization TIAA-CREFredesigned its website, The new design no longer features the slogan "For the Greater Good" next to its corporate logo in the headline banner.  Now relegated to plain text near the bottom of the page, the slogan had been a prominent component of the site since 2005.

Does this change reflect a reprioritization of the goals of TIAA-CREF, which was started as a philanthropic project? Is it a defensive reaction to the growing We Divest campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace in June 2010, which calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and other human rights-based campaigns such as those initiated by Mining Zone Peoples' Solidarity Group and Healthcare-Now?

Adalah-NY hopes that soon TIAA-CREF will recognize that socially responsible investment cannot exclude the rights of Palestinians and other oppressed peoples. Then, it can restore the slogan "For the Greater Good" to a prominent place on its website as a true reflection of its commitment to this principle.

Statement originally posted here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Protesters gather outside TIAA-CREF shareholder meeting

David Matos is a member of the US Campaign Steering Committee.

By Beck Bereiter
July 19th, 2011

With organized chants and giant signs, dozens gathered outside TIAA CREF's annual shareholder's meeting in Charlotte Tuesday.

The group, Jewish Voice for Peace, is calling on the Fortune 100 financial services company to cut ties with companies in its investment portfolio they say are profiting from the Israeli occupation. They referenced companies like Caterpillar Inc. and Veolia.

"It's so important what we do with our money, especially money that's for people's retirement," said Jerry Markatos, who came all the way from Pittsboro to attend the demonstration.

Earlier this year, a group of shareholders say they tried to get the resolution on the agenda but that request was denied.

David Matos, US Campaign
Steering Committee member
"We have some people inside who are going to bring it up during the open question and answer period but they are trying their hardest not to talk about it at all," said Rebecca Vilkomerson, with Jewish Voice for Peace.

"TIAA CREF's slogan is 'For the greater good.' It is not for the greater good to keep their money in the Israeli occupation," added fellow organizer David Matos.

According to the company's website, TIAA CREF is a leading retirement provider for those who work in the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields.

While security did not allow cameras inside the meeting, a spokesperson emailed the following statement on the matter:

“Our investment committee makes decisions that are guided by our corporate governance policies. We are always listening and determining how best to serve clients according to our guidelines.”

New Yorkers demand retirement-fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from the Israeli occupation

Adalah-NY is a coalition member of the US Campaign

July 19, New York, NY - At rush hour Tuesday in midtown Manhattan, seventy-five New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds protested outside the headquarters of US retirement-fund giant TIAA-CREF, demanding that it end its investment in the Israeli occupation. The New York demonstration is a part of national divestment campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace which saw similar actions in twenty cities nationwide marking the day of TIAA-CREF’s annual shareholder meeting, held this year in Charlotte, NC.

According to reports from Charlotte, the TIAA-CREF shareholder meeting was dominated by discussions about divestment from Israel, despite TIAA-CREF’s quashing of a shareholder resolution on the issue. Last week Israel sparked worldwide controversy by passing an anti-boycott law in an attempt to stop divestment efforts like the TIAA-CREF campaign by making support of boycotts a punishable offense.

During the New York protest, three TIAA-CREF participants delivered to a TIAA-CREF communications officer at the entrance to the building a copy of the shareholder resolution that company leadership had blocked.  One of the TIAA-CREF participants, James Schamus - Columbia professor, screenwriter, producer and CEO of Focus Films - told the crowd of protesters, “We refuse to retire on profits derived from a cruel and unjust regime of ethnic cleansing, dispossession, land and resource theft.” He added, “TIAA-CREF’s management will surely have to make its choice of where to stand, without recourse to subterfuge and censorship.”

With chants such as “T-CREF, pay attention: No apartheid in our pension,” protestors called on TIAA-CREF, the premiere retirement fund for US educators, health professionals, and cultural workers, to divest from companies in its portfolio like Caterpillar, Veolia, and Northup Grumman that profit from the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.  The protesters parodied a well-known US folk tune, singing, “This plan is your plan, this plan is my plan; No room for violence; Or occupation; For peaceful retirement; There's one requirement; T-CREF, divest for you and me.” They also reprised, to great applause, a song and dance calling for TIAA-CREF to divest that was originally performed as a flashmob in New York’s Times Square a few weeks earlier.

Riham Barghouti of Adalah-NY told the Manhattan protesters, "The TIAA-CREF divestment initiative is the largest campaign of its kind in the US. It has the potential to send a very strong message to not only the companies that are being targeted, but all US companies, that Americans don’t want their money being invested in war and occupation. Americans don’t want their money funding companies that are violating human rights."
The New York City protest was organized by the groups Adalah-NY: The NY Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; CODEPINK-NYC; Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC; Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester; Brooklyn For Peace; WESPAC Foundation; Women in Black, Union Square; and Jews Say No!

In 2005, a Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society groups. The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a nonviolent campaign for Palestinian rights inspired by the international boycott campaign that helped to abolish apartheid in South Africa. On Sunday, former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu published an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer calling on TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli occupation, just as companies divested from apartheid South Africa.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Archbishop Tutu in editorial: "TIAA-CREF should hear us"

The "We Divest" campaign on financial services giant TIAA-CREF is a US Campaign-sponsored initiative. The following newspaper editorial appeared in the Charlotte Observer on Sunday, July 17, 2011.

Please write your letter to the editor of the Charlotte Observer today to express your support for his opinion piece. Letters should address a single idea and not exceed 150 words. E-mail your letter to Include your name, address and phone number.

From Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009:

As shareholders with the retirement giant TIAA-CREF head to Charlotte this week for their national meeting, there is one issue they will find conspicuously absent from the agenda: divestment from the Israeli Occupation. Despite pleas from shareholders, including medical professionals, students and academics from universities across the United States, the pension fund refused to allow a vote on a resolution that would have compelled TIAA-CREF to consider divestment from companies such as Caterpillar or Elbit. These are companies that profit substantially from the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
In an effort, presumably, to avoid the topic altogether, TIAA-CREF even went so far as to move its annual meeting to Charlotte from its usual location in New York City. But even in Charlotte, they will not be able to escape from "occupation." Throughout the United States and the world, people will continue to speak truth to power about the apartheid perpetrated in the Holy Land.
I, for one, never tire of speaking out against these injustices, because they remind me only too well of what we in South Africa experienced under the racist system of apartheid. I have witnessed firsthand the racially segregated roads and housing in the Occupied Palestinian territories. I have seen the humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children at the checkpoints and roadblocks. I have met Palestinians who were evicted and replaced by Jewish Israeli settlers; Palestinians whose homes were destroyed even as new, Jewish-only homes were illegally built on confiscated Palestinian land.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tell TIAA-CREF to Stop Censoring Investors and to Divest from the Occupation!

Financial services giant TIAA-CREF is running scared. For more than a year, tens of thousands of people around the country have taken part in the "We Divest" Campaign, calling on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Veolia, and other companies profiting from the Israeli occupation.

Recently, TIAA-CREF -- which presents itself as committed to social responsibility and transparency -- censored its shareholders when it suppressed a resolution proposed by investors asking TIAA-CREF to start engaging persuasively with such companies.

Now, TIAA-CREF has gone even farther. Since 2005, all but one of its annual shareholder meetings have been held in New York City. Dozens protested outside the meeting last year, but this year the financial services giant is moving its July 19th meeting to Charlotte, North Carolina. Perhaps they are worried about more protests by those in support of Palestinian human rights? Like Caterpillar, which also recently moved its shareholder meeting to try to avoid us, TIAA-CREF can run but it can't hide!

Let's show TIAA-CREF how we respond to organizations profiting from human rights abuses!

Click here to sign an open letter to CEO Roger Ferguson to be delivered at next week's shareholder meeting.

After you've signed the letter, consider going a step farther to take part in a nationwide day of action on July 19th during the TIAA-CREF shareholder meeting! Click here to see a list of demonstrations set to take place in cities across the country.

With as few as 2-3 people, you too can challenge TIAA-CREF at one of their 60 offices nationwide. There are resources and ideas ready to use. Click here to email "We Divest" Campaign organizer Lev Hirschhorn for more information.

Above: York City flash mob calls for "We Divest" action on July 19. Click to watch.

New York City activists recently put on an amazing flash mob in Times Square to educate others about TIAA-CREF's investment in the occupation, and about the July 19th day of action. Click here to view the inspiring video and spread the word!

Don't forget to sign this open letter to CEO Roger Ferguson, which will be delivered to him at next week's shareholder meeting.

Learn more and share ideas about the "We Divest" Campaign and BDS activities gaining momentum around the country at our 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference, September 16-19 in Washington, DC! Click here for more information. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Flash Mob in NYC Asking TIAA-CREF to Divest!

The "We Divest" Campaign is a US Campaign-endorsed initiative.

New York City activists performed an inspiring flash mob in Times Square to promote the We Divest Campaign, calling on financial TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli Occupation.

Activists nationwide are preparing actions for July 19th, when TIAA-CREF is holding its annual shareholders meeting. Since 2005, all but one CREF annual meetings have been held in New York City. This year, CREF is holding its meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina instead. But like Caterpillar, they can run but they can't hide!

This blog has other recent coverage of the BDS Flash Mob phenomenon. Also see our BDS Flash Mob How-To Kit to plan a flash mob in your own community!

Take action! Click here to sign the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli Occupation.

Tell TIAA-CREF (@TC_Talks) that socially responsible investment cannot include the funding of weapons and weaponized bulldozers! TIAA-CREF invests in companies known to provide supplies and services to help maintain Israeli occupation, including Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, Northrop Grumman, Motorola and Veolia. Click here for more information about the national campaign.

CLICK HERE to share the video on Facebook.

Use the sample tweets below or write your own.
Click "tweet now!" below the samples for automatic tweeting.

Does "For the Greater Good" include apartheid and occupation? Time to #BDS from #Israel @TC_Talks
tweet now!

Don't let #veolia trash #Palestine with your retirement fund. Tell @TC_Talks to #BDS
tweet now!

Would socially responsible investment include bulldozing homes & making bombs? @TC_Talks divest from #Israel
tweet now!

"Consistent Growth" shouldnt include illegal settlements. Tell @TC_Talks to divest from #Israel
tweet now!

@CaterpillarInc bulldozes Palestinian homes Does your retirement fund? Tell @TC_Talks its time for #BDS
tweet now!

@TC_Talks, divest from #Israel "For the Greater Good" #BDS
tweet now! 

Fund your retirement, not ethnic cleansing of #Palestine. Tell @TC_Talks to #BDS
tweet now!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

AFSC Joins Jewish Voice for Peace on Divestment Campaign

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) are two of our coalition members, along with six of AFSC's U.S. regional chapters. Spearheaded by JVP, the "We Divest" Campaign targeting TIAA-CREF is a US Campaign-sponsored initiative. AFSC has distributed the following press release.

In its meeting on June 12, 2011, the Board of Directors of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker peace organization, united in support of joining the divestment campaign led by Jewish Voice for Peace.  The campaign calls on the financial services organization TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that:

  • Directly profit from or contribute to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
  • 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; or
  • Provide products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts that target civilians.
The campaign also calls on TIAA-CREF to establish investment criteria to exclude any such companies in the future.  The TIAA-CREF campaign does not target the government of Israel or Israeli companies for divestment; it is directed at divesting from all corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation.

The AFSC Board affirmed that the decision to join this campaign is “rooted in our Quaker beliefs that we speak with love to ‘that of God’ in every person, that we ‘utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons for any end or under any pretense whatsoever’, and that we testify to this by removing the ‘seeds of conflict’ - including economic seeds - from our own lives.”

This decision is a response to ongoing Israeli violations of human rights and international law and is a rejection of any actions that might support these violations. Consistent with AFSC’s investment screen, this campaign seeks to change Israeli government actions and to end its continued occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

AFSC’s work is shaped by its recognition of Israelis’ and Palestinians’ shared humanity and the importance of working with both peoples to end the conflict based on the principles of equality, rights and justice. As the Board said, “In joining this campaign, Friends reaffirmed our commitment to approach it with a loving spirit and openness to hearing all sides in a conflict. In communicating with Jewish Voice for Peace and others we will hold up our broader concerns for the resolution of all conflict and violation of human rights in the region.”

For more information about AFSC’s joining the Jewish Voice for Peace campaign, see our frequently asked questions.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIAA-CREF Censors Shareholders... We Flash-Mob!

Above: Palestinian boy calls on people worldwide to boycott Elbit and end Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Traveling through Palestine during the past few weeks, co-leading a delegation organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group, I witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid.

I watched Caterpillar bulldozers leveling earth for illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. I stood under Motorola-equipped watchtowers and thermal cameras at checkpoints and terminals that separate Palestinians from their schools, jobs and basic human services. I saw Elbit equipment used in patrolling the Apartheid wall. I documented Veolia buses operated on roads forbidden to non-Jews in the West Bank. On the first anniversary of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, I honored the nine civilians killed by Israel with Northrop Grumman helicopters and other U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons.

The growing "We Divest" Campaign demands that retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Veolia and Northrop Grumman because all five are profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation.

TIAA-CREF presents itself as committed to "serving the greater good," in part by engaging with companies behaving poorly. This is why 20 investors and anti-occupation activists filed a shareholders resolution earlier this year, asking TIAA-CREF to engage with companies profiting from the occupation.

Despite a stated commitment to transparency, TIAA-CREF asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help suppress the resolution. The SEC agreed not to sue TIAA-CREF for refusing to submit the proposal to a shareholder vote. TIAA-CREF bills itself as socially responsible, yet it is blocking its investors from choosing whether or not to retire on money acquired through an illegal, immoral occupation.

Above: BDS activists protest outside TIAA-CREF offices in Denver during Israeli Apartheid Week. Click image to enlarge, and click here to see video.

It's time to show TIAA-CREF that they cannot silence investors and violate their own proclaimed investment standards while we sit idly by! We need to keep the pressure on.

Many of you have already signed the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation. Now it's time to take the next step. In the spirit of this spring's Flash Mob Frenzy, there will be a coordinated week of flash mobs across the country, starting June 20.

Have you been itching to stage a flash mob in your community? Here's your chance! There's a song everyone knows, catchy lyrics, and simple but groovy dance steps all ready to use!

The materials come with a how-to kit based on the US Campaign's BDS Flash Mob Step-by-Step Guide.

Click here to connect with others in your area to take part in the Flash Mob Action Week and demand that TIAA-CREF stop profiting from occupation, stop censoring investors, and start acting like a real socially responsible investment fund!

Hope to see you -- getting your socially responsible groove on -- soon!

Anna Baltzer
National Organizer

PS --
We can support grassroots BDS activism around the country only with grassroots support from people like you. Help us by making a general tax-deductible donation, or by joining our Olive Branch Club to make a recurring tax-deductible donation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Show Caterpillar it can run, but it can't hide

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
May 19, 2011

For the past seven years, the US Campaign and many of our coalition member groups, including Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, have dominated Caterpillar's annual Chicago-area shareholder meetings by organizing creative protests inside and outside the meetings, like these actions in 2009 and in 2010 (click to learn more).

Above: Activists protest outside a Caterpillar shareholder meeting. (click image to enlarge).

Together, we've challenged the corporation for supplying Israel with D9 bulldozers -- which Israel misuses to demolish Palestinian homes, uproot olive trees, construct Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall, and kill and maim unarmed civilians -- at Caterpillar's most important annual gathering.

Apparently CAT has had enough of us all dominating their annual shareholder meeting. Recently, it announced that it is moving its meeting on June 8th to Little Rock, Arkansas. CAT can run 700 miles away for its meeting this year, but we're still watching.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained in a recent interview in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that:

"BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions]... will start coming at us like a glacier, from all corners."

Our joint corporate accountability campaign to challenge CAT's role continues from all corners: from shareholder activism, to targeting the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales Program D9 deliveries, to student divestment campaigns and CAT-free campuses. Only with your help in targeting CAT from "all corners" will this campaign continue to grow!

Here are some updates and ways for you to advance our collective "Stop Caterpillar" campaign:

Last October, media reports stated that CAT would not deliver bulldozers to the Israeli military during the civil trial brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie against Israel for the 2003 killing of their daughter Rachel by its military with a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she nonviolently tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Click here for trial updates from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group.

We need to maintain pressure on the Obama Administration and on CAT to make sure no D9 bulldozers -- destined to destroy Palestinian homes and lives -- are delivered ever! In the lead-up to CAT's shareholder meeting...

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Join nearly 15,000 people in signing our petition to the Obama Administration demanding the end of D9 Caterpillar bulldozer deliveries to the Israeli military, and an investigation into Israel's violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment.


Above: Video by Earlham College students (click to watch).

This spring has brought a surge of campus divestment campaigns targeting Caterpillar and other corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which declared itself CAT-free last year, have joined with campuses like the University of Arizona (UA) in a "Mock Wall" movement coinciding with the launch of a resolution to divest from Caterpillar and Motorola. Likewise, students in a new US Campaign member group, BDS Earlham, are calling for divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard.

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to show your support for the Earlham College resolution to divest from Caterpillar.

3. Dozens of groups around the country, including member groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Grassroots International, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at UT-Austin, are building campaigns to get TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services providers in the United States, to divest more than $250 million from Caterpillar (along with holdings in other occupation-profiteers).

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to call for TIAA-CREF's divestment and to find out how you can become a local organizer on this fast-spreading campaign.

Let's prove Ehud Barak right by using all possible avenues to end Caterpillar's complicity in Israel's occupation and apartheid policies!