TIAA-CREF: Honor the life of Rachel Corrie. Divest from the occupation!
Read the full Call to Action here.
Dear Sir or Madam:
We are TIAA-CREF participants, investors, and supporters who are hugely appreciative of the recent decision to remove Caterpillar Inc. from TIAA-CREF’s Socially Responsible Investment Fund. However, we remain deeply concerned that in total holdings TIAA-CREF continues to invest heavily in Caterpillar Inc. and in other key companies that proﬁt from Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Some of these companies provide weapons and covert surveillance supplies that maintain the occupation by force. Others take or exploit Palestinian resources, including scarce water and even the land itself. All are proﬁting from Israel’s violations of international law and international human rights standards.
In 2003 in Gaza, peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death under a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer operated by the Israeli military, as she attempted to protect a Palestinian family’s home from illegal demolition. For years, Rachel’s family has sought justice through diplomatic means. The U.S. Government has consistently stated that the Israeli investigation of the matter is inadequate. In 2005 the Corrie family filed a civil lawsuit in Israel in which they charge the Israel Ministry of Defense and State with violating Rachel’s constitutional rights to life and dignity (rights anchored in international humanitarian and human rights law and in Israel’s Basic Law). After a nearly 7 ½ year process, the verdict in this case will finally be announced on August 28th and marks a significant moment in the movement for Palestinian human rights of which Rachel was a part.
Just as the Corrie family seeks justice, so do the thousands of Palestinians whose homes, schools, and orchards have been demolished with Caterpillar equipment sold to and used by the Israel Defense Forces. The D9R bulldozer, an armored variation of the D9 track-type tractor manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. and used in the operation that killed Rachel Corrie, is one piece of CAT equipment used to support the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and to destroy the homes and appropriate land from the Bedouin population of Israel. Caterpillar Inc. is a major supplier of military engineering equipment through its Governmental and Defense Products division.
As the verdict in Corrie vs Israel draws near, we call on TIAA-CREF to do the following:
- Honor the memory of Rachel Corrie and support the quest for justice for the destruction wreaked upon the Palestinian people, by divesting completely from Caterpillar Inc.
- Divest from companies that directly profit from or contribute to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
- Divest from all companies that provide products or services that contribute to the construction and maintenance of Israeli settlements and/or the Separation Wall, both of which are illegal under international law.
- Divest from all companies that provide products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts that target civilians.
- Establish investment criteria to exclude any such companies in the future.
For almost 100 years, TIAA-CREF has striven to provide financial services for the greater good, helping those in academic, medical, cultural, and research ﬁelds to plan for and live in retirement. Please take the moral steps needed to ensure that TIAA-CREF is not party to the continuing illegal and immoral 45-year Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and that all TIAA-CREF participants can invest the fruits of their labor and enjoy their retirements in good conscience.
(Name of individual or organization)
Companies that profit from the illegal Israeli occupation:
CATERPILLAR INC. profits from the destruction of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of Palestinian orchards by supplying the armor-plated and weaponized bulldozers and other equipment used for such demolition work.
VEOLIA profits from the construction and expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements by operating a landfill in the West Bank, by exploiting Palestinian natural resources to serve the settlements, and by contracting for the future operation of an illegal light rail system connecting these settlements with Jerusalem.
NORTHROP GRUMMAN profits from the production of parts for Apache helicopters and F-16 aircraft, used by Israel against civilians in Gaza during Israel’s 2008-09 assault.
ELBIT profits from confiscation of Palestinian land by providing surveillance equipment that is mounted on the Separation Wall, which was declared unlawful by the International Court of Justice.
MOTOROLA profits from Israel’s control of the Palestinian population by providing surveillance systems around Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and military camps in the West Bank, and communication systems to the Israeli army and West Bank settlers.”