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.