Quakers divest from HP and Veolia Environment

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The Palestine Israel Action Group, a subcommittee of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, issued the following press release:

September 24, 2012, Ann Arbor. Friends Fiduciary Corporation, the socially responsible investment firm serving over 300 Quaker institutions in the United States, has dropped its holdings in Hewlett Packard and Veolia Environment, multinational corporations that support Israel’s Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Hewlett Packard was removed from Friends Fiduciary’s investments because they provide information technology consulting services to the Israeli Navy, said Jeffery W. Perkins, the Executive Director of Friends Fiduciary. Veolia Environment, the world’s largest water privatization company, was removed because of “environmental and social concerns.” According to Global Exchange, Veolia provides segregated water services to Israeli settlers in the Palestinian Territories and runs a large landfill in the occupied Jordan River valley.

Friends’ Fiduciary’s decision to drop Hewlett Packard and Veolia follows on the heels of another important action, says Anne Remley of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, which initiated the divestment requests. In April, 2012, Friends Fiduciary’s removed Caterpillar Corporation from their list of socially responsible corporations based on the 360-year old Quaker Peace Testimony, which disavows support for war.

Friends were concerned that Caterpillar sells bulldozers to the Israeli army to be weaponized and used in the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes and civilian infrastructure. When this concern was brought to Friends Fiduciary, says Perkins, [Caterpillar] “would neither confirm nor deny the extent or type of modifications to the equipment sold to the Israeli military.”

The action of Friends Fiduciary in dropping these three firms marks a major breakthrough in the global campaign to hold corporations accountable for profiting from Israel’s human rights and international law violations in the Palestinian Territories.

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Exciting, but way over due!

Bravo to to Baltzer and friends; they report the amount the Friends had in HP was more than $250,000 and in Veolia, more than $140,000. It’s regrettable that those who could really make an impact aren’t on the BDS bus. Jadaliya reports on Veolia: “… Veolia has facilitated the Israeli occupation by building and operating a tram-line which links Jerusalem with illegal settlements in the West Bank, by dumping waste from Israel and illegal settlements… Read more »

Quakers were the first Americans to call for the abolition of slavery.

may be a bad idea Hewlett and Packard were Stanford basketball players…anymore whether they are political connected anymore is beyond just about everybody… there was also a divestment of Intel… Intel was a product of Shockley the Nobel Prize Winner, Shockley SemiConductor in Silicon Valley…Bob Noyce worked for Shockley and Noyce was from Grinnell College by way of MIT/CalTech…Noyce was a Protestant from the Midwest…he formed the legendary Fairchild SemiConductor and then INTEL…he shared the… Read more »

A $140,000 divestment from Veolia doesn’t seem like a big deal, but there has been worthwhile victories in the last couple of years that have put a big strain on its finances. Here’s a recap from the Ireland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign: “Boycott works! The impact of the successful global Boycott Divestment Sanction campaign against Veolia: Lost Contracts and legal actions Oct 2011: Alstom lost the bid for the second phase of the Saudi Haramain Railway… Read more »