We applaud the recent decision of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to divest from several companies complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., Motorola Solutions, and Caterpillar. The adoption of the UUA's Human Rights in Conflict Zones investment screen sends a powerful message promoting human rights to companies operating throughout the world. The implementation of the screen also provides an inspiring model for other faith-based communities in the United States. Not only do we thank you for this critical effort, we strongly support the passing of the Proposed Business Resolution: Divestment from Corporations Complicit in the Violation of Palestinian Rights at the Unitarian Universalists 2016 General Assembly
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) welcomes the recent decision of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to divest from several companies involved in human rights abuses and environmental degradation.
The UUA has adopted a human rights screen focusing on conflict zones that includes human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The UUA subsequently divested from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., and Motorola Solutions. The UUA has also divested from Caterpillar Inc., due to concerns over its environmental and social practices. These four companies have been the target of boycott and divestment campaigns due to their complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights.
“We are pleased with this decision made by the UUA officials,” said Curtis Bell, a member of the UUJME Board of Directors. “As Unitarian Universalists we want to live by our principles, which include respect for the worth and dignity of every person, upholding justice, equity and compassion in human affairs, and seeking peace and world community. When we refuse to profit from human rights abuses and the suffering of fellow human beings, we are living our principles.”
By divesting from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., Motorola Solutions, and Caterpillar, the UUA is joining other religious denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ, which have voted to divest from these and other companies profiting from Israel’s abuses of Palestinian rights; and the United Methodist Church, which has voted to boycott goods produced in settlements and which recently divested from two Israeli banks and placed three others on a no investing list due to their complicity in the illegal construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
UUJME will be working to reinforce and solidify the UUA’s decisions with passage of a Business Resolution by delegates to the UUA General Assembly in Columbus Ohio this coming June. Adoption of this resolution will guide the UUA as it continues to include human rights concerns in the occupied Palestinian territories in its future investment decisions.
OCHA Flash Update
Multiple demolitions across Area C in the West Bank; 124 people displaced
8 April 2016
Khirbet Tana, 7 April 2016On 7 April, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) carried out demolitions throughout the West Bank, including in five Bedouin communities affected by the E1 settlement plan, and in Khirbet Tana, which has been the location of multiple demolitions in 2016, most recently on 23 March. Demolitions also took place today in Az’ Za’ayem village (Jerusalem), Ni’lin (Ramallah), and Al Khader (Bethlehem), where a combination of residential, animal and livelihood structures were demolished.
In total, 54 structures (including 18 donor-funded structures) were demolished in nine different communities, displacing 124 people, including 60 children. A further 293 people, including 98 children, were otherwise affected.
Read more: Multiple demolitions across Area C in the West Bank; 124 people displaced
A call for International Protection of Palestinians from Israeli-Sanctioned Murder
Lawlessness and violence against Palestinian civilians reached new levels during the March 28 anti-BDS rally in Jerusalem. The Israeli minister of transportation, intelligence and atomic energy, Yisrael Katz, said that Israel must carry out a “targeted civil thwarting of the BDS leadership,” naming Omar Barghouti and other Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists. (“Targeted thwarting” is an Israeli military term for “assassination.”) Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri escalated the fear-mongering by claiming that Barghouti and other BDS activists are paid by terrorist organizations hostile to Israel.
Friends of Sabeel North America condemns this dangerous and violent rhetoric by Israeli leaders. As a Palestinian Christian organization, FOSNA affirms the sanctity of every human life and asserts that murder and intent to assassinate targeted civilians runs contrary to our religious principles and international law. We reject statements by extremist religious leaders who distort the teachings of their own scriptures, religious law, and prophets by justifying murder with hate speech. A central principle of our Judeo-Christian-Islamic scriptures and traditions is the responsibility “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke.”
Please contact Secretary of State John Kerry in support of Senator Patrick Leahy’s request to investigate “gross violations of human rights” in Israel. Write to your local newspaper in support of sanctions against Israel in light of these threats. Speak to your congregations about the violence Palestinians experience under occupation. In a climate of rising extremism among Israeli settlers and the military, Western powers need to intervene to protect increasingly vulnerable Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.
Hosts Celeste Carey and Cecil Prescod speak with Ned Rosch about the
recommendation of Portland’s Socially Responsible Investments Committee
for the City of Portland to put Caterpillar on City’s Do-Not-Buy List
Portland’s Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) voted – 4 in favor, 2 opposed – at its March 17th meeting to recommend that City funds should not be invested in Caterpillar, citing concern that Caterpillar Corporation violates a number of the City’s socially responsible investment criteria.
Caterpillar, which provides militarized bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes, has long been a target of human rights activists. Maxine Fookson, from Occupation-Free Portland, which pushed for Caterpillar to be placed on the Do-Not-Buy List, said, “This is an important victory for human rights. The SRIC today took a stand on the right side of history making it clear that companies, like Caterpillar, that are knowingly engaged in human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land should not be supported by Portland investments.”
The SRIC’s recommendation was based on review of an MSCI analysis which rates companies for their investment potential and includes a screen that looks at environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns. In addition, the SRIC heard powerful testimony at their February meeting from supporters of Occupation-Free Portland, a campaign committed to getting Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions placed on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy List for their complicity in – and profiting from – the many human rights violations that are part of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Later this year, the SRIC will recommend to the City Council a list of corporations that should be on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy List. Members of the City Council will consider the SRIC recommendations and make the final decision in this matter.
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