QUAKERS DIVEST FROM HEWLETT-PACKARD AND VEOLIA ENVIRONMENT
Friends Fiduciary Corporation, an investment firm serving over 300 Quaker institutions in the United States, has dropped its holdings in Hewlett-Packard and Veolia Environment. The two multinational corporations are the focus of a global divestment and boycott movement that charges them with supporting Israel's 45-year-old military occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Hewlett-Packard was removed from Friends Fiduciary's investments because it provides IT 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 and transportation services to Israeli settlers living illegally in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In April 2012, Friends Fiduciary was also the first investment firm in the U.S. to remove Caterpillar Corporation from its list of socially responsible corporations. Morgan Stanley Capital Investment downgraded the company's SR rating this spring, and TIAA-CREF in June dropped Caterpillar from its own Social Choice Fund.
"We Ann Arbor Quakers asked the Friends Fiduciary Corporation to divest from these companies because we don't want to support corporations whose products are used in gross human rights violations carried out by the Israeli military in its occupation of the Palestinian territories," said spokeswoman Anne Remley. "Hewlett-Packard makes products used by the Israeli navy, which enforces the illegal blockade of Gaza. Caterpillar bulldozers are weaponized and used to destroy Palestinian homes and agricultural land, and to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land. And Veolia builds transportation systems used to transport Jewish settlers between those settlements and Israel. We're pleased that the Friends Fiduciary Corporation is no longer involved with these endeavors."
The action of Friends Fiduciary in dropping these three firms marks a significant breakthrough in the global campaign to hold corporations accountable for supporting Israel's human rights and international law violations in the Palestinian territories. We hope it will inspire other people of faith and conscience to follow suit.