TIAA-CREF Call-In instructions

Calls to the Chicago TIAA-CREF office should be made between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m on July 16. Dial 312-332-2272 and ask to speak with
Chriss Yoss.

If a TIAA-CREF investor:

My name is ____________ from [city and state]. As a TIAA-CREF
investor I am calling to thank the company for making the decision to
sell off all of its Soda Stream investments, a company whose factory is
in an illegal Israeli settlement. But I am very disappointed that my
retirement money is still being invested in Veolia, a company making
its profits from segregated buses for settlements in the Occupied
Territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. I am also very
disappointed that TIAA-CREF refused to allow its stockholders to vote
on this issue. TIAA-CREF: Divest from Veolia.

If not a TIAA-CREF investor:

My name is ___________ from [city and state]. I am calling to thank
TIAA-CREF for making the decision to sell off all of its Soda stream
investments, a company whose factory is in an illegal Israeli
settlement. But I am very disappointed that such a highly respected
company that handles pensions for thousands of people has yet to
divest from Veolia – a company making its profits from segregated
buses for settlements in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank
and East Jerusalem. I am also very disappointed that TIAA-CREF
refused to allow its stockholders to vote on this issue. TIAA-CREF:
Divest from Veolia.

The Future Divests! Take Part in the Student Day of Action.

Are you a student?

The We Divest national campaign is having a national day of action next week, February 26th.  We need YOUR help to send a message to TIAA-CREF!

It is easy to take part in the Day of Action!   Simply take a picture with one of our premade signs, send the picture to submissions@jewishvoiceforpeace.org. And that’s it! If you want to go a step further, you can organize a photo booth on your campus to collect many photos. You’ll be sending TIAA-CREF a powerful message. Read on for all the details. Questions? Email: stefanie@jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

What’s this action about?
TIAA-CREF is one of the largest retirement plan providers in the nation, and has more than $2 billion invested in corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.  One of these corporations is Veolia Environnement, which operates segregated bus lines for Israeli settlers on Palestinian land.  We are sending a clear message that TIAA-CREF must divest from Veolia!
Retirement Plan?  But I’m a student.

You may not have a TIAA-CREF plan now, but it’s likely that you will some day.  If you are planning to have a career in academia, the medical field, or a non-profit organization, you will probably plan for your retirement with TIAA-CREF.  That makes you a future client, with the power to influence TIAA-CREF’s investment practices.

Why should TIAA-CREF care about its future investors?
During the South African Apartheid regime, students across the UK led a boycott against Barclays bank for their participation in Apartheid.  The boycott ultimately succeeded, and Barclays withdrew its business from South Africa.  Barclays later cited the student boycott as a major factor in their withdrawal, because they viewed students as their future clientele and were concerned about their long-term viability.

50 years later, we can send the same kind of message to TIAA-CREF!

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OK!  I’m the future!  So how do I send TIAA-CREF a message?
We are collecting photos from students all across the country.  In the “Photo Shoot for Justice” you can take pictures with the following signs:
 %22future%22
Use the blank space to write what career you want to embark on (“Future” professor, “Future” lab technician, “Future” human rights advocate, etc).
divest from veolia

You can also create your own signs, conveying the message that you are the future of TIAA-CREF!  We are accepting photos now!  Feel free to start anytime in the next week.

Please email all photos to submissions@jewishvoiceforpeace.org, and we’ll put them on the tumblr!

Don’t just take photos of yourselves.  Set up a photo booth on campus, and encourage other students to join in.   The more photos we have, the better!

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We will post the photos on a tumblr, and also create a collage out of them to send to TIAA-CREF.  Hold off on sharing photos and using #futurevotesnow until February 26th.  In the mean time, have a happy photo shoot!

This Holiday Season: don’t buy into the Israeli Occupation

As many of us are finishing up (or beginning!) our holiday shopping, we want to encourage you to not purchase products from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal apartheid and occupation of Palestine.  The below list is inspired by the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a means of nonviolent resistance to Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.

Below, please find some companies and products (that you might be thinking of buying as gifts) to avoid this holiday season:
SodaStream manufactures carbonating devices and flavorings for soft drinks. SodaStream’s main production site is in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishor Edomin.  The company conceals this fact by using a ‘Made in Israel’ label (this is a common practice by companies manufacturing/growing their products in the occupied West Bank).  As an Israeli settlement manufacturer, it exploits Palestinian land, resources and labor.  Learn more about why we’re targeting Soda Stream
Hewlett Packard is best known for its printers and computers.  HP also provides infrastructure for the Israeli occupation.  HP biometric scanners are installed in checkpoints throughout the West Bank, reinforcing widespread restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement.  In 2008, HP signed a contract with the Israeli Ministry of the Interior for the production and manufacturing of biometric ID cards for Israel’s citizens, including the Palestinian residents of Israel and occupied East Jerusalem.  For this reason, HP is often equated with Polaroid (one of the major targets of the South Africa Boycott and Divestment movement), which – in addition to selling civilian products – manufactured the passbooks system that controlled the movement of blacks throughout the country.  HP also administered the Israeli navy’s IT infrastructure (including the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip), and provides services and technologies to two of the biggest Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank: Modi’in Ilit and Ariel.
A recent report by Who Profits found that all of the major Israeli wineries use grapes from occupied territory in their wines.  Many residential and commercial activities in the occupied West Bank are encouraged (financially) by the Israeli government, despite their illegality under international law.  The wine industry is no different.  Israelis who cultivate vineyards on occupied territory are allocated subsidized water quotas and they receive funds from the Ministry of Agriculture for planting and building agricultural facilities, from the Ministry of Defense for paving roads and for fencing in the plots, and from the Ministry of Tourism for turning the vineyards and wineries into tourist attractions.
Hadiklaim Dates are grown in the Occupied West Bank, as are most of the dates and many other fruits and vegetables exported by Israel.  These companies often employ Palestinians (including children), who are subject to exploitation and receive lower wages than their Israeli counterparts.  If you’re buying dates this holiday season, support local agriculture and look for dates grown in the US.
Ahava - Dead Sea Laboratories is a privately-owned Israeli cosmetics corporation which operates from the occupied West Bank and is located in the occupied area of the Dead Sea.  The Ahava factory and visitors’ center is located in the Mitzpe Shalem settlement, and a large percentage of Ahava shares are held by two Israeli West Bank settlements.  Ahava’s activity accounts for approximately half of the natural resources extracted from the Dead Sea region, which has an extremely delicate ecosystem.  There are plenty of other beauty products that don’t exploit Palestinian land and resources!  Read WhoProfit’s entire report on Ahava (May 2012).
While it’s not exactly a holiday item, if you use TIAA-CREF as your pension fund, sign our petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that profit from the occupation and other violations of human rights and international law.  These companies include Caterpillar (which supplies armor-plated and weaponized bulldozers that demolish Palestinian homes and uproot Palestinian orchards)Elbit Systems (which provides drones and other surveillance equipment on the illegal separation/apartheid wall); Veolia Environnement (a transportation and waste management corporation that operates a landfill for illegal settlements and is contracted to operate the upcoming illegal lightrail system which will connect settlements with one another and with Jerusalem); Northrop Grumman (which produces parts for the Apache and F-16 aircrafts used by Israel during the ’08-’09 assault on Gaza); Motorola Solutions, (which provides surveillance systems and communication systems around and for Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and military camps); and G4S (which provides services to Israeli prisons, military checkpoints and to firms in illegal settlements in the West Bank).
There are many other ways to act in solidarity with Palestine and to participate in the global BDS movement (and many other companies to boycott and divest from).  We encourage you to do more than to avoid buying these products.  You can write a letter to these companies, or the stores selling their products, letting them know you want them to stop profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestine.
Have a wonderful holiday season, and thank you for keeping peace and justice in mind as you do your holiday shopping!
(Thanks to Sofia Wolman for compiling this list of resources)

How we can respond to the attack on Gaza: divestment.

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The following was posted today by the BNC (The Palestinian BDS National Committee).  Palestinians are asking us to support them now more than ever by intensifying our BDS campaigns abroad.  Let’s answer their call, and make TIAA-CREF divest from corporations that make this attack on Gaza possible, that make the occupation possible, and that make apartheid possible.

Occupied Palestine, 15 November 2012 – On November 8, Israel carried out an attack on civilians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, shooting 13-year-old Ahmad Abu Daqqa while he played football with friends. By November 14, Israel had intensified its attacks on Gaza and begun to implement an intensive plan of aggression that at the time of writing has killed at least 15 Palestinians, including at least 6 children, and injured over 150, predominantly civilians.

Despite biased Western media reports to the contrary, it is clear that Israel has initiated and escalated this new assault [1] on the eve of its upcoming parliamentary elections, underlining the time-honoured Israeli formula of Palestinian bodies for ballots.[2]

It is worth noting that a great majority of the Gaza population are refugees ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias and later the state of Israel during the 1948 Nakba and denied by Israel their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin.

This belligerent aggression is the most murderous and inhuman Israeli attack on the Palestinian people since the Gaza massacre of 2008-09, which killed more than 1,400 and injured more than 5,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians. The US and Europe have so far been successful in preventing Palestinian recourse to international justice mechanisms for Israeli crimes against humanity that took place during the massacre and that were documented by a UN Fact Finding Mission as well as a team of international law experts commissioned by the Arab League. Urgent action must be taken to prevent Israel from acting with such impunity again.

The 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza have endured the worst of Israeli impunity and violence including being placed under a medieval siege, being subjected to deliberately created food insecurity and frequent acts of Israeli  state terrorism. It is the duty of all supporters of international law and universal human rights to hold Israel accountable through effective measures, such as those called for in the global, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society, including all major political parties,  trade unions, social movements and NGO networks, calls on:

- People of conscience around the world to intensify BDS campaigns to hold Israel accountable, and to pressure their governments to immediately suspend arms trade with Israel, implement trade sanctions, and bring to justice all Israeli officials and military personnel who took part, at all levels, in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.

- Civil society organisations, including trade unions, universities, trade unions, student groups and NGOs, to boycott Israeli goods, divest from all Israeli and international companies that are complicit with Israel’s occupation and apartheid, and call for governments to implement military embargoes and trade sanctions on Israel.

- Governments, especially Arab and friendly governments, to respect their legal obligation to protect the Palestinian right to life and self-determination and to impose sanctions on Israel to immediately end its assault on, and cease its illegal siege of the occupied Gaza Strip and its policies of colonialism and apartheid that oppress the Palestinian people.

As this new attack on the people of Gaza shows, Israel will continue its belligerence, aggression and state terrorism unless it is made to pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples. As the last seven years of the global BDS movement and the long history of past international solidarity with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa have shown, the most effective, sustainable and morally consistent form of solidarity with the oppressed is for international civil society and conscientious people around the world to apply boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the oppressor and all institutions that collude in maintaining and justifying its oppression. It is high time for BDS against Israel.  This is the clearest path to freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians and the entire region. BDS National Committee (BNC)

[1] For a timeline that explains how Israel has initiated this new attack, see  http://imeu.net/news/article0023227.shtml
[2] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/15/bodies-for-ballots.html

Chicago Divests’ statement on the attacks on Gaza

Today, Israel launched a major invasion on the people of Gaza. We are deeply distraught by the large scale of militarized violence currently unfolding. While Chicago Divests normally focuses on corporate connections to the occupation, we think it’s important today to take a moment to look at the big picture. What we do is more about following investment paper trails. Men, women, and children are dying as part of a massive military assault. Missiles rain down from drones and warships on civilians that have no where to run. We need to be clear in saying this is a crime against humanity. Today, we take a moment to stop drawing the investment/divestment connections. Today, we take a moment to simply stand up and say “NO! THIS IS WRONG!”

We encourage you all to do what you can to take a stand against the massacre of Gaza.  There will be an action tomorrow at 4pm planned by several organizations at 130 E. Randolph Street (the location of Obama’s campaign headquarters). 
If you would like more resources on corporate involvement in the invasion of Gaza, please continue to follow our twitter (@chicagodivests) and facebook (www.facebook.com/chicagodivests).  In the mean time, here are some facts you should know about how TIAA-CREF’s investments support the attack on Gaza:
  • TIAA-CREF invests $661 million in HP, which runs the Israeli navy’s information technology infrastructure.  Israeli warships shelled the Gaza coast today.
  • TIAA-CREF invests $206 million in Northrop Grumman, which sells weapons and machinery to the Israeli Defense Forces.  The IDF used Northrop Grumman missiles on Gaza in 2008 and are using them now.
  • TIAA-CREF invests $141 million in Motorola solutions, which provides communication systems for the Israeli Defense Force.  Motorola is the provider of the primary mode of communication for the Israeli military, meaning that Israeli soldiers attacking Gaza are receiving their orders via a Motorola system.
  • TIAA-CREF invests $935,000 in Elbit systems, which manufactures drones for the Israeli army to use over Gaza.  Drones are constantly flying over Gaza now, killing civilians, destroying homes, and providing a constant psychological terror.

If you would like more information about corporate involvement in the attack on Gaza, you can email us atchicagotccampaign@gmail.com. We will be planning how we can repsond to this attack through divestment work over the coming days.

Thanks your your continuing support.  Thoughts and prayers for the people of Gaza.

This Week: Chicago Divests from the Israeli Occupation of Palestine

Palestinians have endured forced removal from their homes, segregation, and regular episodes of violence under a decades-long Israeli military occupation. Multinational corporations profit from these human rights abuses by supplying Israel with munitions and equipment such as weaponized bulldozers and biometric scanners, thereby directly enabling the human rights abuses perpetuated by the occupation.

Under the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), many advocate divestment from corporations profiting from the Israeli military occupation as a bold new approach to achieving peace with human rights in Israel and Palestine. A panel of activists who have worked on divestment campaigns will speak about the work they’ve done, why it matters, and how divestment can help secure human rights in Israel and Palestine.

Panel Dates:

October 10th

University of Illinois at Chicago

3:00 PM

Student Center East, Room 613 (750 S. Halstead)

https://www.facebook.com/events/271965326256266/

University of Chicago

6:15 PM

Stuart 105, Main Quad. (http://maps.uchicago.edu/mainquad/stuart.html)

https://www.facebook.com/events/141180716027501/

October 11th

Loyola University

7:00 PM

Galvin Auditorium, Sullivan Center (6339 N. Sheridan Road)

https://www.facebook.com/events/414115425304730/

About The Panelists:

Sydney Levy is the Director of Advocacy at Jewish Voice for Peace. He has worked for over 15 years in nonprofits advocating for LGBT human rights organizing for media justice, and assisting in the preparation of death row appeals. He is the son of Egyptian Jews who immigrated to Venezuela, where he was born. Sydney lived in Jerusalem for seven years, where he received his Masters degree in Jewish History from the Hebrew University. Sydney has been working with JVP since 2000, and since 2008 has worked with churches seeking to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation.

Dr. Dalit Baum, Ph.D, is an Economic Activist for Palestine Global Exchange and a co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation, an activist research initiative of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. Dalit is a feminist scholar and teacher in Israel, who has been teaching about militarism and about the global economy from a feminist perspective in Israeli universities. As a feminist/ queer activist, she has been active with various groups in the Israeli anti-occupation and democratization movement, including Black Laundry, Boycott from Within, Zochrot, Anarchists against the Wall and Women in Black.

Sandra Tamari is an organizer with the St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, and a vocal advocate for Palestinian rights and the ending of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. She has been involved in a campaign to urge the United Methodist church to adopt selective divestment from companies that profit from the occupation, co-authoring an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times during the United Methodists’ General Conference. A Quaker American of Palestinian descent, she was recently barred from entering Israel and her case made headlines after it emerged that Israeli officials demanded her gmail password during her interrogation, and US Embassy officials in Tel Aviv refused to help her on account of her not being Jewish.

Sponsored By: 

Students for Justice in Palestine at University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Loyola University Chicago

Chicago Divests

American Friends Service Committee

Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago Chapter

Coming to a campus near you: We Divest from the Israeli Occupation

Wednesday, October 10th

University of Illinois at Chicago
3:00 PM
Student Center East, Room 613
Facebook event

University of Chicago
6:15 PM
Stuart 105
Facebook Event

Thursday, October 11th

Loyola University Chicago
7:00 PM
Galvin Auditorium (6339 N. Sheridan Road)
Facebook Event

Palestinians have endured forced removal from their homes, segregation, and regular episodes of violence under a decades-long Israeli military occupation. Multinational corporations profit from these human rights abuses by supplying Israel with munitions and equipment such as weaponized bulldozers and biometric scanners, thereby directly enabling the human rights abuses perpetuated by the occupation.

Under the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), many advocate divestment from corporations profiting from the Israeli military occupation as a bold new approach to achieving peace with human rights in Israel and Palestine. A panel of activists who have worked on divestment campaigns will speak about the work they’ve done, why it matters, and how divestment can help secure human rights in Israel and Palestine.

About The Panelists:

Sydney Levy is the Director of Advocacy at Jewish Voice for Peace. He has worked for over 15 years in nonprofits advocating for LGBT human rights organizing for media justice, and assisting in the preparation of death row appeals. He is the son of Egyptian Jews who immigrated to Venezuela, where he was born. Sydney lived in Jerusalem for seven years, where he received his Masters degree in Jewish History from the Hebrew University. Sydney has been working with JVP since 2000, and since 2008 has worked with churches seeking to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation.

Dr. Dalit Baum, Ph.D, is an Economic Activist for Palestine Global Exchange and a co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation, an activist research initiative of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. Dalit is a feminist scholar and teacher in Israel, who has been teaching about militarism and about the global economy from a feminist perspective in Israeli universities. As a feminist/ queer activist, she has been active with various groups in the Israeli anti-occupation and democratization movement, including Black Laundry, Boycott from Within, Zochrot, Anarchists against the Wall and Women in Black.

Sandra Tamari is an organizer with the St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, and a vocal advocate for Palestinian rights and the ending of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. She has been involved in a campaign to urge the United Methodist church to adopt selective divestment from companies that profit from the occupation, co-authoring an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times during the United Methodists’ General Conference. A Quaker American of Palestinian descent, she was recently barred from entering Israel and her case made headlines after it emerged that Israeli officials demanded her gmail password during her interrogation, and US Embassy officials in Tel Aviv refused to help her on account of her not being Jewish.

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