This is a new divestment campaign, which many of us hope will help put the issue of divestment from the occupation on the map in many places.
Consider ways you can help!
It took the courage of over 700 humanitarian aid activists and the needless deaths of nine of them to put the siege of Gaza and the broader issue of the Israeli occupation on the front pages of  the world’s newspapers, day after day, for a week.  There were demonstrations across the globe and diplomatic condemnations
But my own government was largely silent.
While other countries condemned the illegal attack, here in the US, President Obama played games with words and ensured that no resolution would pass the UN Security Council. And instead of demanding an impartial international investigation, he gave his blessing to a widely criticized  Israeli plan to investigate itself.
The catastrophe on the high seas off the Gaza Strip has only underscored the urgent need to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine and to bring a just peace.
In the last year, divestment campaigns at U.S. universities including Hampshire, Berkeley, and Evergreen have galvanized discussion and action about Israel’s treatment of the occupied Palestinian territories. Building on that momentum, I am proud to tell you that Jewish Voice for Peace is announcing today a new divestment campaign that you, your family, your friends, and your community can all help build.
Our goal is to get TIAA-CREF, one of the largest pension funds in the United States, to divest from companies that are profiting from the occupation.
TIAA-CREF’s tagline is “finance for the greater good.”  It takes pride not just in its financial acumen, but also in its ethical standards.
But TIAA-CREF, invests its money–my retirement money– in companies that help maintain the Gaza blockade, build West Bank settlements, embed spy equipment in the illegal Separation Wall, and sell Israel navy ships and other war equipment used to attack Gaza and, most recently, the Flotilla. Even TIAA-CREF’s “socially responsible” funds are invested in some of the companies JVP is targeting, including Caterpillar and Motorola.
Yet TIAA-CREF was the first major fund to divest from those doing business in the Sudan, and then other companies followed suit. If we can just convince TIAA-CREF to follow its own guidelines, as it has in the Sudan, we will have a major impact.
TIAA CREF participants are public school teachers, college and university professors, hospital doctors and staff, researchers, artists and non-profit workers. We are launching this campaign with the endorsements of over 250 prominent  professors, doctors  authors, artists, and many others who are standing up for what is right. You can see who has signed on here.
This is just the beginning.  Will you join us?
You’ll be standing with scholars such as Professor Richard Falk and Professor Noam Chomsky, authors and activists such as Naomi Klein, Juan Cole, Bill Fletcher Jr., and Nadia Hijab, a dozen rabbis from around the country, and many others fighting for justice.
We ask you to sign the petition – regardless of your religion, ethnicity or profession, or whether you participate in a TIAA-CREF retirement plan.
This campaign demands accountability from the ground up, starting with you and me. An old bumper sticker sums it up:  “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.”
Only if we lead, will D.C. follow.
We think that with your help, this campaign will make a huge difference.
Economic pressure campaigns using boycott, divestment and sanction tactics have a long and noble history. They helped end apartheid in South Africa.  They worked in the American South, in the civil rights movement.  They worked to persuade California grape producers to recognize their workers’ union.  

 Most recently, many people are boycotting Arizona in response to its treatment of immigrants. But none of these campaigns were overnight successes.  This is the beginning of a long, hard battle, but we’re determined to win it.  If you join, we will win.

To sign the petition, and to find out more about the campaign and how to get involved in your community, go to

We can make it happen again.

Henri Picciotto
Former Chair, JVP Board of Directors
TIAA-CREF Participant

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