Breakthrough! Quakers Spanning 3 States Call For Boycott & Divestment
Anna Baltzer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation National Organizer, September 4th, 2013
Exciting news! Lake Erie Yearly Meeting, a regional Quaker organization encompassing Ohio, Michigan, and Western Pennsylvania, has become the first Quaker Yearly Meeting to officially endorse boycott and divestment targeting companies complicit in the Israeli occupation. The recently adopted minute states:
“Lake Erie Yearly Meeting calls for Friends to join the boycott of products made in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements and to divest from companies that support Israel’s military occupation and repression of the Palestinian people.”
Congratulations to member organization Palestine-Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting and the many others who helped achieve this breakthrough, the latest in a string of Quaker decisions and actions in support of Palestinian rights, including (click here for a complete list):
- Last year, the Friends Fiduciary Corporation, which manages more than 300 Quaker institutions, divested more than $1.2 million in holdings of Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Veolia following advocacy by Ann Arbor Friends working for Palestinian rights.
- The American Friends Service Committee implemented a screen banning investment in 29 companies that benefit from the Israeli occupation. Earlier this year, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. unanimously adopted the same screen!
- Illinois Yearly Meeting, Blue River Quarterly Meeting, St. Louis Monthly Meeting and Colorado Springs Monthly Meeting all came out in support of the We Divest Campaign (check out the new website!) urging financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli occupation.
Now, the U.S. Quakers are setting their sights on Israel’s illegal settlement products.
Inspired by the breakthrough, and with support from the US Campaign, Quakers nationwide are forming a new national group, Quaker Palestine Israel Network (QPIN) to further Friends’ support for Palestinian freedom through boycott and divestment campaigns. Are you a Quaker or do you know someone who is? Invite them to click here to join QPIN during this exciting, pivotal moment!
Likewise, inspired by the MCC-U.S. decision to go occupation-free, Mennonites have organized the new Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (Menno-PIN)!
QPIN and Menno-PIN could soon be the newest members of the Interfaith Boycott Coalition, a network of the US Campaign, which launched a campaign earlier this year to boycott SodaStream, an Israeli settlement product. If you haven’t yet, sign the “Thirsting for Justice” petition to show your support for the Interfaith SodaStream Boycott.
Faith-based organizing and SodaStream boycotts will be just two of the many topics covered at the US Campaign’s 12th Annual National Organizers’ Conference September 20-22 — less than three weeks away! — at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. Have you registered yet?
This year, our conference theme is joint struggle and how we can connect our work for Palestinian rights with other movements for social justice. It’s a time when activists from member groups working on campaigns nationwide can come together to network and share skills, strategies and tactics. From creative protest to getting an op-ed published, from understanding the opposition and “green-washing” to understanding the legal details of boycott and divestment, this conference is one you won’t want to miss!
P.S. — Special Offer! If you’re one of the next 20 people to register for the conference before this Friday, you will get a free copy of our National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner’s book Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace. And he will sign it for you at the conference!