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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 in 2005 as a non-violent means to achieve justice, equality and peace.

A wave of bills aimed at punishing or suppressing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns for Palestinian freedom have been introduced in state legislatures across the country. Click for information on specific anti-BDS legislation in your state.

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

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.


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.

Lawrence Reyes, 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.

Rosie Martinez, SEIU/LACERA

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.*

Marva Burgess, SEIU/LACERA

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 SEIU 721 caucuses are:
ADA, African American, Latino, Native American, Filipino, and Social & Economic Justice.

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

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."

Click for slideshow of CalPERS responses on the relevance of social issues.

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.

IDC sets the record straight

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

Lockyer's rebuke to IDC

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

demolition banner Demolition banner

war crimes 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
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

10 year timeline of BDS successes
Editorials & Opinions

Click on a headline below to open a panel showing more information.

Indonesian President calls for Boycott of​ settlement products
03.08.2016 Indonesian president Joko Widodo calls for boycott of produce from Israel's Occupied Territories
Columbia University faculty call for divestment
03.01.2016 Petition calls upon the University to "divest from corporations that supply, perpetuate, and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people." As of this bulletin, the number of signers increased to 52 from the 40 cited in the linked article.
University of Illinois-Chicago Students vote to divest
0​2.17.2016 University of Illinois at Chicago Student Government votes unanimously to divest from Israeli occupation
Italian academics call for boycott of Israeli institutions
01.30.2016 170 academics at Italian universities call for boycott of Israeli institutions
University of South Florida student body votes to divest from Israel
01.20.2016 Victory in struggle to divest from Israel, South Florida students pass resolution
U.S. church blacklists 5 Israeli banks
01.12.2016 United Methodist Church will not invest in five Israeli banks for human rights reasons
Ireland's largest multinational divests its stake in Israeli cement market
01.09.2016 Multinational corporation CRH divests from the holding company for Nesher Cement, the sole producer of cement in Israel's 48 territories
BDS: full 2015 round-up
Two S.F. Bay area university student governments vote for divestment from Israel
11.19.2015 UC Santa Cruz and San Jose State student governments passed resolutions calling for their schools to divest from companies doing business with Israel
Liverpool Guild of students vote to support divestment
10.26.2015 The motion to boycott Israel advocates divestment from companies that are complicit in the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem; from those which support the Wall, to companies providing direct financial aid and selling weaponry
United Electric Workers (UE) is first national US union to endorse BDS
08.28.2015 UE Becomes First National U.S. Union to Endorse BDS
After years of BDS campaigns, Veolia withdraws completely from Israel
08.28.2015 Boycott-hit Veolia dumps Jerusalem rail, completes Israel withdrawal
United Church of Canada votes in favor of divestment, sanctions against Israel
08.13.2015 Divest from Israel says the Protestant United Church of Canada
Columbia University divests ​from prisons, including G4S
07.17.2015 How Columbia Became the First University to Divest from Private Prisons
07.09.2015 Here is a selection of key developments during the first 10 years of the BDS movement
January - June 2015
06.20.2015 BDS France demonstrates at Paris Air Show
video (3:58) of BDS action
photos of protests

05.30.15 UC Davis senators vote to divest citing Israel's harm to student welfare

04.08.2015 Veolia sells BDS-targeted Israel businesses

03.30.2015 Sussex students join UK's wave of Israel boycotts

03.26.2015 The Student Government of Loyola Chicago passed a resolution to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land

03.04.2105 Resolution gains majority vote, campaign continues

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

02.19.2015 Northwestern is at least the 25th US university student government to pass an Israel 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

02.09.2015 Body representing students at all University of California campuses endorses Israel divestment

01.30.2015 UC Davis passes divestment resolution, five other campaigns launched across US
July - December 2014

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

12.19.2014 UCLA divestment resolution passed!

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

10.22.2014 BDS resolution by the United Church of Christ Connecticut conference follows moves by other conferences

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

09.19.2014 Victory for BDS campaign as Union of European Football Associations decides against Jerusalem tournament bid

09.01.2014 After years of pressure,is Veolia quitting Israel?

08.27.2014 Tutu urges Dutch fund to divest from Israeli banks

08.22.2014 Ontario branch, representing 300,000 university students, urges schools not to cooperate with Israel's 'war crimes'

08.05.2014 Ireland's largest grocery and food distributor SuperValu has withdrawn Israeli products from its shelves

08.06.2014 Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

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

08.03.2014 Israel boycott spreads in European Civil Society over Gaza War

07.26.2014 A global hip-hop call for Israel boycott watch video

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

07.15.2014 Liz Lochhead, National Poet of Scotland endorses the academic and cultural boycott of Israel

07.04.2013 Britain's biggest trade union slams Israeli apartheid, commits to BDS campaigning
January - June 2014
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

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

03.14.14 $170m Argentina loss for Israeli water firm Mekorot as BDS continues to bite

03.07.2014 Victory in Galway as NUIG Students' Union votes to join BDS movement

01.21.2014 UN year of solidarity with the Palestinian people begins with boycott success

01.10.2014 This round-up was published in conjunction with a Palestinian BDS National Committee statement looking ahead to 2014

01.08.2014 Major Netherlands pension fund will divest from five Israeli banks over their dealings with Jewish settlements on occupied land

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.

Look at "Actions You Can Take Now" on the left sidebar menu.
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