Saturday, April 29, 2006

Suggested Actions

Responsible Economic Engagement – Suggested Actions
Compiled by The Palestine-Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting 3/12/06

Groups and individuals may wish to contact companies whose products or services are used in violence against Israelis or Palestinians, urging such companies to change their practices. Investors may also choose to avoid support for such firms, and instead to seek enterprises that help the cause of a just and lasting peace. Shareholders may, in addition, wish to join in stockholder resolutions that ask companies to refrain from enabling violence and repression in Israel-Palestine. Other positive steps include avoiding support for State of Israel bonds, boycotting products made in West Bank settlement, and working to help strengthen the Palestinian economy.

A) Companies that manufacture and/or sell military equipment to Israel
1. Boeing: Maker of AH 64 Apache helicopters that kill Palestinian civilians.
2. General Electric: Maker of T700-GE-701 engines for Apache helicopters.
Apache helicopters are regularly used by the Israeli military in carrying out extra-judicial killings. Such assassinations violate international law and have led to the deaths of countless Palestinian civilians who happen to be in the vicinity of the person targeted by the Israeli attack.
3. Caterpillar: Maker of D9 Bulldozers specially fitted for huge blades that demolish Palestinian homes, some with residents still inside. They raze entire neighborhoods, as well as olive groves and orchards that are essential to Palestinian farmers’ livelihoods.
4. Lockheed Martin Corp: Maker of F-15 and F-16 Fighter Jets.
5. Hewlett Packard: Research & Development center in Israel. HP owns Computations & Measurements Ltd, and owns part of Technion Institute, which helps develop Israeli high tech weaponry.
6. ITT Industries is a diversified manufacturer that supplies the Israeli military with communications, electronic, and night vision equipment used by its forces in the Occupied Territories.
7. Motorola recently won a contract to develop wireless encrypted communications for the Israeli military in the Occupied Territories. Additionally, it is a majority investor in one of Israel's four cell phone companies. This investment is controversial because cell phone companies, according to the Oslo Agreement of 1995, must be licensed by the Palestinian Authority in order to operate in the West Bank and Gaza. However, powerful facilities in the settlements have a range that covers all of the Occupied Territories, so this licensing has not occurred.
8. United Technologies is a large military contractor whose subsidiary has provided helicopters to the Israeli military. They have been used in attacks in the Occupied Territories, purportedly against suspected Palestinian terrorists, but also causing civilian deaths and suffering.
9. Ford invests in developing diagnostic systems at Ben-Gurion University for two-stroke engines used on Israeli military vehicles.
10. Gulfstream Aerospace Industries, a General Dynamics subsidiary, manufactures aircraft for the Israeli Air Force.
11. EXXON Mobil supplies JP-8 aviation jet fuel.
12. Northrop Grumman makes radar and weapons systems.
13. Oshkosh Truck Corporation makes heavy expanded-mobility tactical trucks.
14. Raytheon is a major manufacturer of Israeli weapons.
15. PGSUS-LLC, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin/Rafael, manufactures attack missiles.

B) State of Israel Bonds
Israel pays for its military armaments and for the Occupation with funds raised from the sale of its bonds as well as from the $10 million a day supplied by the US government. Much of this funding goes to US manufacturers, who in fact supply the bulk of Israeli arms.
Investors find Israeli government bonds attractive because the US government guarantees them through its Agency for International Development (USAID). This situation is unique because the US guarantees no other foreign government’s public debt. Some experts believe the State of Israel is unlikely ever to redeem these bonds, making them in effect a gift from US taxpayers.

1. US state governments and union pension funds often carry a sizeable portfolio of State of Israel Bonds. Individuals may contact their state government or union about this matter.
2. Fidelity Mutual Funds. Fidelity includes State of Israel bonds in several of its bond funds.

State of Israel bonds are found in the following Fidelity mutual funds. (Percentages in parentheses show the portion of each fund allocated to these Israeli bonds.)

Fidelity Government Income Fund $202 million (4.4%)
Spartan Government Income Fund $78.9 million (9.3%)
Fidelity Intermediate Government Income Fund $33.4 million (3.6%)
Fidelity Strategic Income Fund $7.6 million (0.33%)
Fidelity Intermediate Bond Fund $2.4 million (0.03%)
Fidelity Investment Grade Bond Fund $1.8 million (0.03%)
Spartan Investment Grade Bond Fund $0.9 million (0.04%)

A total of $327 million in State of Israel Bonds is held in these seven Fidelity mutual funds. This data is taken from Fidelity reports ranging from mid-2004 through January 2005. It is available, with periodic updates, on the Fidelity Investments website, www.fidelity.com/
Three possible avenues of action are:

1.Contact the company, urging it to divest from State of Israel bonds.
2.Divest from any Fidelity fund that contains State of Israel bonds, informing the company of the reason for one’s action.
3.Stay invested in one or more of these funds in order to join a shareholder resolution urging Fidelity to divest from these bonds

C) Products made in Israeli West Bank Settlements. Individuals may wish to avoid purchases that support the economic viability of these unlawful enclaves. The settlements are key obstacles to peace, commandeering land and water, destroying olive groves, impeding Palestinians’ freedom of movement with settlement-related roadblocks and a network of Israeli-only roads that connect West Bank settlements with Israel. Speak to the store manager.

1.Ahava beauty products, which are sold in stores around the world, are produced in Mitzpeh Shalem, an illegal West Bank settlement.
2.Beigel and Beigel Food produced on occupied Palestinian land.
3.Gamla, Golan, and Yarden wines. Produced on illegally occupied Syrian territory.
4.Other Israeli wines. In 2005, the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced they were aiming to double the exports of Israeli wines over the next five years. Many of these are produced in illegal settlements. All have “Israel” on the label. For a list of these wines see http://cjpp.org/vinsIsraelSAQ.pdf
5.Other settlement products. See www.gushshalom.org; www.bigcampaign.org

OTHER POSITIVE ACTIONS:
A) Support the Palestinian economy
1. Buy fair trade Palestinian olive oil. Olive oil is a vital source of income for many Palestinian farmers. 65% of Palestinian families derive vital sustenance and/or income from agriculture. In many areas Israeli curfews and movement restrictions, as well as threats of severe violence from Israeli settlers, have resulted in olive trees going unharvested. Many olive trees have been destroyed by the Separation Wall and settlement building. Support Palestinian farmers by purchasing excellent olive oil from www.zaytoun.org
2. Other Palestinian goods such as embroidery, olive wood objects, calendars, traditional items, and much more can be purchased from www.paltime.net
3. Specialty grocery stores carry tinned pickles, tahini, olive oil, etc. from the West Bank, sold under Ziyad and other labels. Spread the word about these local outlets.

B) Support Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights organizations that have begun to take up the call for a global boycott of companies profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. For example, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) states: "We fully support selective divestment from companies that profit from Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. This includes American companies like Caterpillar who profit from the wholesale destruction of Palestinian homes and orchards. It also includes Israeli companies who depend on settlements for materials or labor or who produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights."

C) Write a letter
Here is a sample of a letter that could be sent:
James W. Owens,
Chair and CEO, Caterpillar Inc.
100 NE Adams Street,
Peoria, IL 61629-1425
March 1, 2006

Dear Mr. Owens,

As a (concerned citizen/stockholder/member of X group) I/we ask the Caterpillar Corporation to cease sending equipment to Israel that is used in violence against Palestinian civilians. We ask in particular that you stop providing the specially fitted D9 bulldozer that is used by the Israeli army to destroy Palestinian homes and olive groves. This destruction has caused untold physical, psychological, and economic hardship to thousands of Palestinian families.

We regret the suffering that has been visited on both Palestinian and Israeli people. We regret the role that our government and US companies have played in assisting repressive and unjust actions by the Israeli military. WE AFFIRM the right of all people to live in security, without threat of economic or physical violence. We urge Caterpillar to show informed corporate leadership in this regard.

Sincerely,

XXXXXX XXXXXXX

3 comments:

  1. We had good luck talking to the proprietor of The Jerusalem Market off Plymouth Road. He does have West Bank olive oil and canned pickles. And he was so pleased to have our interest.

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  2. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Why not just do another kyrstalnacht and work together with Iran to eliminate the state of Israel? Why not just shove the Jews back into the ovens? Why not worry about other things, like nuclear war with Iran, beheadings in Indonesia, war in Darfur, starvation in Africa, and the lack of womens rights in the Middle East. Remember a million Arabs live in Israel, you boycott Israel, you impact them too.

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  3. I suppose this is where Quakers, or at least this Quaker, differs from people who think that safety and security can only be achieved through violence. Israel, with its atomic weapons, its new 30 billion dollar defense package from the U.S., its ability to round up, imprison and even execute suspects without trial, its impunity in the "accidental" killing of children and youth, its giant wall of separation, is still frightened, still vulnerable. This fear is palpable in the voice of the writer of the last comment. A majority of people on both sides of the conflct want peace, but the hotheads and fear mongers make a Middle East arms race sound reasonable to most of our presidential candidates. For me, calling for an arms boycott is a way of saying, "Enough."

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