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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

Welcome to the

A California initiative calling on public employee pension funds to divest from and to refrain from investing in corporations complicit in Israel's violations of universal human rights and international law

IDC is a participant in the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) initiated by Palestinian civil society as a non-violent means to achieve justice, equality and peace.

California public employee pension funds owe it to both the workers and taxpayers who contribute to them to invest in companies that respect their workers and honor human rights wherever they operate. Caterpillar is a company that flagrantly violates these principles in both in occupied Palestine and in North America. To learn more about this issue, click here.

       Cat plant is closed             Gazans fleeing caterpillar
Photo by Khalil Hamra

In response to Caterpillar's abuses, IDC earlier launched a campaign, appealing to California public pension funds PERS, STRS and LACERA specifically to divest from Caterpillar. We are in the process of preparing a new campaign focused on Elbit and Hewlett-Packard. These pension funds have endorsed the UN Principles of Responsible Investment which should mean they are committed to respecting human rights and workers rights in directing their portfolios.

Let's make sure that they do!
To take action on Caterpillar now, you can:

IDC Campaign Updates

04.09.2014 IDC Update
Human rights/labor activists petition LACERA Board of Investment to divest from Caterpillar and Elbit

[To view the video, see the instructions at the end of this update]

In another chapter of IDC's campaign, IDC member Mary Singaus along with other SEIU 721 activists Marva Burgess, Rosie Martinez and Lawrence Reyes appealed to the LACERA (L.A. County Employees Retirement Association) Board of Investment on April 9th to divest from Caterpillar and Elbit.

Mary Singaus & Lawrence Reyes

Mary Singaus, IDC/SEIU/LACERA & Lawrence Reyes, SEIU/LACERA

Acknowledging that LACERA was a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment, Singaus urged that it also require its investment managers to become signatories. She also appealed to LACERA to invest only in companies that respect human rights and accordingly have signed on to the Principles of the Global Compact, noting that neither Caterpillar nor Elbit were signatories.

Rosie Martinez

Rosie Martinez, SEIU/LACERA

The Board members listened attentively as Reyes, Burgess and Martinez made passionate appeals to assure that their pension funds were not invested in companies such as Caterpillar and Elbit that violated human rights. Like other members of SEIU 721, they had all signed the petition to the Board calling on it divest from Caterpillar. The Board members carefully read the petition, which was included in their packet; and took note of the fact that six of the SEIU 721 caucuses had voted to support a resolution calling on LACERA to divest from Caterpillar.*

IDC will continue to work with SEIU 721 members in their efforts to assure that LACERA invests only in corporations that respect human rights and workers rights; and that it starts a process to divest from companies, like Caterpillar, that violate these rights.

* The caucuses are: ADA, African American, Latino, Native American, Filipino, and Social & Economic Justice.

Click here to load the video; then move the cursor to display the status bar and click the "play" button.

09.16.2013 IDC Update
IDC responds to PERS New "Investment Beliefs" Document

[To view the video, see the instructions at the end of this update]

David Mandel David Mandel represented IDC at the September 16, 2013 PERS Investment Committee meeting during which a new policy document titled "Investment Beliefs" was adopted.

Mandel welcomed the new policy statement and noted that the Board's emphasis on "engagement" should lead to a resumption of the hastily terminated "engagement" with companies that are complicit in Israeli's violation of Palestinian human rights.

The formal adoption of this policy, which includes a section on social issues, followed two years of internal discussions among the Board members, including an April 2013 Workshop where Board members indicated strong support both for incorporating social issues and for "engagement." PERS Board Members responses on Relevance/Importance of Social Issues, April 2013")

Click here to load the video; then move the cursor to display the status bar and click the "play" button.

06.17.2013 IDC Update
IDC sets the record straight regarding CalPERS claim of "engagement completion"

At the June 17th CalPERS Investment Committee meeting, IDC representatives Mikos Fabersunne and David Mandel contested the staff's claims regarding the successful completion of the engagement process with Veolia and Elbit.

The committee was reminded that 1,000 cards were submitted to the staff calling on PERS to respond to Caterpillar's complicity in the violation of Palestinian human rights. IDC also challenged the remarks made at the May meeting by a representative of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee. Click here for the IDC statements.

The statements by the IDC reps were met with a rebuke by the State Treasurer, Bill Lockyer, an ex officio PERS Board member.

05.13.2013 IDC Update
Israel Divestment Campaign Challenges CalPERS to Do the Right Thing

demolition banner

war crimes banner

[Video clips and transcripts of the IDC-related comments at the CalPERS Investment Committee meeting.]

Some 25 IDC activists and supporters, most of whom are CalPERS members, attended the May 13, 2013 CalPERS Investment Committee meeting in Sacramento after first holding a streetside demonstration.

Twelve IDC members from Los Angeles, Chico and the Sacramento area took the Committee/Board to task for chico contingent terminating the engagement process with Elbit and Veolia, and for refusing to investigate Caterpillar's role in Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and its violation of worker's rights in North America.

Statements from Rabbi Lynne Gottleib of the JVP Rabbinical Council and Methodist ministers Larry George and Michael Yoshi were also read.

Earlier IDC Campaign Updates

BDS News

For BDS news, click on a headline below to show more information.

Click for BDS Editorials & Opinions
Read Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, David Palumbo-Liu, Haider Eid as well as several responses to Chomsky's critique of BDS

U of Toledo student government overwhelmingly votes for divestment
03.04.2105 Resolution gains majority vote, campaign continues
SOAS overwhelmingly endorses academic boycott of Israel
02.27.2015 The academic boycott of Israel was endorsed by the School of Oriental and African Studies students and staff at the University of London by a 73% to 27% vote
Northwestern University students pass Israel divestment resolution
02.19.2015 Northwestern is at least the 25th US university student government to pass an Israel divestment resolution
Stanford University students approve divestment resolution
02.18.2015 Student senate at Stanford University passed a resolution to divest from companies profiting from Israel's violations of Palestinians' rights
California student association endorses Israel divestment
02.09.2015 Body representing students at all University of California campuses endorses Israel divestment
Student divestment campaigns growing across the country
01.30.2015 UC Davis passes divestment resolution, five other campaigns launched across US
Historic Landslide BDS Vote by Grad Students' Union at University of California
Major BDS win: Elbit loses Brazil deal
12.04.2014 The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has cancelled a major collaboration deal with Israeli military company Elbit Systems in the wake of protests over the firm's role in oppression of Palestinians
In landslide, UCLA student govt votes to divest from Israeli occupation
12.19.2014 UCLA divestment resolution passed!
Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii divests from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions
10.26.2014 A resolution highlighting peace and justice issues in Israel and Palestine, includes divestment from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions due to their support of Israeli occupation
Connecticut United Church of Christ passes BDS resolution
10.22.2014 BDS resolution by the United Church of Christ Connecticut conference follows moves by other conferences
Occupation profiteer Veolia excluded from $750 million contract in Kuwait
10.01.2014 The Kuwait City Municipality ruled to exclude Veolia from "all future projects" in the city, and specifically invoked its illegal projects on Palestinian land
UEFA rejects Israeli bid to host 2020 European Championships games
09.19.2014 Victory for BDS campaign as Union of European Football Associations decides against Jerusalem tournament bid
Veolia Sells Israeli Water, Waste Businesses to Oaktree Capital
09.01.2014 After years of pressure,is Veolia quitting Israel?
Dutch pension fund to consider divestment from Israeli banks
08.27.2014 Tutu urges Dutch fund to divest from Israeli banks
Canadian Federation of Student's branch joins BDS
08.22.2014 Ontario branch, representing 300,000 university students, urges schools not to cooperate with Israel's 'war crimes'
SuperValu boycotts Israeli products
08.05.2014 Ireland's largest grocery and food distributor SuperValu has withdrawn Israeli products from its shelves
Top Middle East scholars call for academic boycott of Israel
08.06.2014 Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions
Boycott of Israel gaining momentum; Bolivian President declares support for BDS
08.12.2014 On 9 August, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide answered a call from Palestinian civil society in the besieged Gaza Strip, and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, National Committee (BNC), for a Day of Rage
Boycott of Israel Spreads in Europe
08.03.2014 Israel boycott spreads in European Civil Society over Gaza War
International hip-hop artists express solidarity with boycott
07.26.2014 A global hip-hop call for Israel boycott watch video
African Literature Association endorses academic boycott of Israel
07.23.2014 The African Literature Association (ALA) passed a resolution supporting the spirit of the 2004 Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel
Scotland's national poet endorses Israel boycott
07.15.2014 Liz Lochhead, National Poet of Scotland endorses the academic and cultural boycott of Israel
Britain's largest trade union supports BDS
07.04.2013 Britain's biggest trade union slams Israeli apartheid, commits to BDS campaigning
May/June BDS Highlights
The spring and early summer of 2014 have brought several significant BDS success stories
06.29.2014 Gates Foundation Divests From G4S
06.20.2014 Presbyterians Vote to Divest
06.12.2014 United Methodist Church Divests From G4s
05.29.2014 UC Santa Cruz Students Pass Divestment Resolution
05.28.2014 DePaul University Students Vote for Divestment
05.08.2014 Outgoing UN Special Rapporteur Calls for Widening of Boycott
05.08.2014 Recent victories Luxembourg state pension fund joins divestment groundswell; Israeli state water company loses Portugal deal and faces global protests
05.05.2014 Wesleyan Student Assembly holds a separate endowment that will soon be divested from companies implicated in the Israeli occupation. You can also read the student newspaper's account of the resolution
05.02.2014 SJP bypassed student government and collected 10,200 signatures on a petition requesting divestment in support of Palestinians' rights
05.02.2014 Europe's largest teachers' union has passed a resolution backing a boycott of companies profiting from Israel's illegal settlements and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
05.01.2014 University of New Mexico Graduate & Professional Student Association Passes Historic Israel Divestment Resolution
UC Riverside students pass divestment resolution
04.25.2014 The student senate at the University of California at Riverside voted to support a resolution sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine calling on the university to pull its investments from US companies profiting from Israel's occupation
Argentinia suspends contract with Israeli state water company
03.14.14 $170m Argentina loss for Israeli water firm Mekorot as BDS continues to bite
Students at Ireland's National University of Galway pass BDS resolution
03.07.2014 Victory in Galway as NUIG Students' Union votes to join BDS movement
2014 begins with Boycott sucess
01.21.2014 UN year of solidarity with the Palestinian people begins with boycott success
Round-up of BDS successes in 2013
01.10.2014 This round-up was published in conjunction with a Palestinian BDS National Committee statement looking ahead to 2014
Major Dutch pension firm divests from Israeli banks over settlements
01.08.2014 Major Netherlands pension fund will divest from five Israeli banks over their dealings with Jewish settlements on occupied land
Norwegian singer Moddi honors appeal from Gaza to cancel performance in Israel
01.03.2014 Moddi cancels Tel Aviv gig after appeal from Gaza
July - December 2013
12.16.2013 American Studies Association members vote to support boycott of Israeli academic institutions

12.15.2013 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Council unanimously endorses academic boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

12.04.2013 American Studies Association Council unanimously adopts academic boycott of Israeli resolution

12.03.2013 Hebrew University Conference Dealt Two Significant Blows Statement from Campaign to Boycott the Oral History Conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem

11.14.2013 TIAA-CREF removes Veolia Environnement stock from its Social Choice Funds portfolio

11.05.2013 Congress of South African Trade Unions urges sanctions against Israel: Our government is not accountable to the apartheid state of Israel

11.06.2013 University of Bergen drops G4S over support for Israeli apartheid

11.01.2013 St. Louis activists score win as Veolia pulls out of St. Louis

10.30.2013 Australian academics to fight Zionist's Federal Court action claiming that support for BDS is racist

10.23.2013 Anti-divestment bill defeated at UCLA

10.21.2013 Video: Cornell students protest TIAA-CREF head over investment in Israel's occupation

10.02.2013 Norwegian union ends G4S contract as "act of solidarity" with Palestinians

09.30.2013 Veolia transportation firm divests from Israeli settlement bus lines

09.26.2013 Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and other oral historians and academics from Europe, South Africa and North America are calling on their colleagues to boycott the June 2014 International Conference on Oral History organized by the Oral History Division of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

09.12.2013 More than 500 academics urge the EU not to backdown on its policy of preventing funding from being awarded to Israeli projects and entities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

09.06.2013 Dutch-based firm withdraws from a sewage treatment project in eastern occupied Jerusalem.

09.05.2013 On the Academic Boycott Front: A Pioneering Campaign - the Hebrew University oral history conference boycott campaign

08.12.2013 International oral historians and other academics call for a boycott of Hebrew University of Jerusalem's oral history conference

07.26.2013 The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg charges students for protesting Israeli sponsored concert

07.22.2013 Two of Netherland's largest retail chains announce they will not sell more products originating in the settlements

07.19.2013 The Academy Award nominee and National Film Award recipient Mira Nair refuses invitation as guest of honor at Haifa International Film Festival, stating: "I will go to Israel when the walls come down [and] when the occupation is gone."

07.14.2013 Iranian scholars, artists and activists call on noted filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf to boycott the Jerusalem film festival and reject award

07.14.2013 Retirement Fund Giant TIAA-CREF Drops Controversial Israeli Settlement Company SodaStream
January - June 2013
06.27.2013 Burger boycott: McDonalds boycotts Ariel settlement - refuses to open in West Bank Israeli settlement

06.21.2013 Nine United Methodist regional conferences, representing thousands of churches, have now voted to divest from companies involved with Israel's occupation of Palestinian land

06.11.2013 A delegation of Palestinian-Americans, representing coalitions of over 500 US organizations, delivered a petition today signed by over 12,000 people calling on Alicia Keys to cancel her July 4th concert in Israel

05.31.2013 Involvement in Israel's illegal settlement enterprise may result in criminal prosecution warns the Netherlands' chief prosecutor

05.20.2013 Middlebury College students stage checkpoint - call on College to divest from Israeli apartheid

05.07.2013 World-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking endorses academic boycott of Israel

04.24.2013 Columbia and Barnard faculty and students press TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli army-linked corporations

04.23.2013 Divestment win at UC Berkeley stands! Landgraf announces no veto on divestment bill SB 160

04.23.2013 The Association for Asian American Studies is the first U.S.-based academic organization to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions

04.22.2013 British security firm G4S says it will not renew contracts to provide security systems for West Bank sites

04.18.2013 Berkeley Student Senate voted 11-9 to divest from companies affiliated with Israel's military

04.13.2013 Student Representative Council at Australia's University of Sydney passed a motion endorsing an academic boycott of Israel

04.09.2013 Palestinian teachers union welcomes the Teachers' Union of Ireland call to boycott Israel

04.04.2013 In a unanimous vote, the Teachers Union of Ireland is the first academic union in Europe to endorse the call for an academic boycott of Israel

03.27.2013 Mennonites divest from "companies that support Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza"

03.24.2013 Pink Floyd's Roger Waters pulling together fellow musicians to boycott Israel for crimes against Palestinians

03.26.2013 Crushing defeat for Israel lobby as anti-boycott litigation fails in UK

03.25.2013 York University student union, the largest student union in Canada passes boycott resolution

03.20.2013 Pink Floyd's Roger Waters plans to publish an open letter to his peers in the music industry asking them to join him in the BDS movement

03.14.2013 UC San Diego Associated Students' council pass divestment resolution - seeking divestment from firms with West Bank ties

03.11.2013 Prominent Manhattan synagogue attempts to cancel a panel discussion on the subject "Israel-Equality-Democracy" lest it lead to a discussion of BDS

03.09.2013 Netherlands becomes latest country to act against trade with illegal Israeli settlements 03.07.2013 California BDS debate heats up: UC Riverside students pass divestment measure as Stanford rejects the same

02.26.2013 Ten years after Rachel Corrie's killing, AIPAC conference will feature Caterpillar executive

01.11.2013 Veolia withdraws from California water contract bidding following outcry against its abuses of Palestinian rights

01.02.2013 Here's a look back at The Electronic Intifada's coverage of the significant BDS victories of 2012.

BDS Anniversary Special:
Movement timeline
charting 8 years of successes from 2005 thru 2013!

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