Americans Push for Divestment from Pro-Occupation Companies

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, July 18, 2013 (WAFA)  – Americans demonstrated this week in over a dozen cities throughout the United States demanding that the retirement giant TIAA-CREF divest from companies supporting the illegal Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian Territory, a press statement by the national We Divest campaign, said Wednesday.

The protests, organized by We Divest, came while TIAA-CREF held its annual shareholders’ meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday.

The protesters said they were not happy with TIAA-CREF’s refusal to allow investors to vote on a shareholder resolution, which calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from companies such as Veolia, Caterpillar, and Northrup Grumman which profit from segregated services, home demolitions, militarized violence, and other human rights abuses.

We Divest had earlier announced that TIAA-CREF had dropped its investment in the Israeli settlement company SodaStream. In 2012, TIAA-CREF dropped Caterpillar, Inc., a company targeted by We Divest, from its Social Choice fund after it was decided that Israel  has been using company bulldozers for countless and egregious Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestinian Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

“It is becoming increasingly controversial, if not downright shameful, to be in any way associated with products made in illegal settlements in occupied territory,” said Sydney Levy of the We Divest Campaign. “No matter TIAA-CREF’s motivations to drop SodaStream, it was the right decision for a company claiming to provide ‘financial services for the greater good.’”