Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIAA-CREF Censors Shareholders... We Flash-Mob!

Boy in West Bank protesting Elbit
Above: Palestinian boy calls on people worldwide to boycott Elbit and end Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Traveling through Palestine during the past few weeks, co-leading a delegation organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group, I witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid.

I watched Caterpillar bulldozers leveling earth for illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. I stood under Motorola-equipped watchtowers and thermal cameras at checkpoints and terminals that separate Palestinians from their schools, jobs and basic human services. I saw Elbit equipment used in patrolling the Apartheid wall. I documented Veolia buses operated on roads forbidden to non-Jews in the West Bank. On the first anniversary of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, I honored the nine civilians killed by Israel with Northrop Grumman helicopters and other U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons.

The growing "We Divest" Campaign demands that retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Veolia and Northrop Grumman because all five are profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation.

TIAA-CREF presents itself as committed to "serving the greater good," in part by engaging with companies behaving poorly. This is why 20 investors and anti-occupation activists filed a shareholders resolution earlier this year, asking TIAA-CREF to engage with companies profiting from the occupation.

Despite a stated commitment to transparency, TIAA-CREF asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help suppress the resolution. The SEC agreed not to sue TIAA-CREF for refusing to submit the proposal to a shareholder vote. TIAA-CREF bills itself as socially responsible, yet it is blocking its investors from choosing whether or not to retire on money acquired through an illegal, immoral occupation.

Denver protest
Above: BDS activists protest outside TIAA-CREF offices in Denver during Israeli Apartheid Week. Click image to enlarge, and click here to see video.

It's time to show TIAA-CREF that they cannot silence investors and violate their own proclaimed investment standards while we sit idly by! We need to keep the pressure on.

Many of you have already signed the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation. Now it's time to take the next step. In the spirit of this spring's Flash Mob Frenzy, there will be a coordinated week of flash mobs across the country, starting June 20.

Have you been itching to stage a flash mob in your community? Here's your chance! There's a song everyone knows, catchy lyrics, and simple but groovy dance steps all ready to use!

The materials come with a how-to kit based on the US Campaign's BDS Flash Mob Step-by-Step Guide.

Click here to connect with others in your area to take part in the Flash Mob Action Week and demand that TIAA-CREF stop profiting from occupation, stop censoring investors, and start acting like a real socially responsible investment fund!

Hope to see you -- getting your socially responsible groove on -- soon!

Anna Baltzer
National Organizer

PS --
We can support grassroots BDS activism around the country only with grassroots support from people like you. Help us by making a general tax-deductible donation, or by joining our Olive Branch Club to make a recurring tax-deductible donation.