September 24, 2012, Ann Arbor. Friends Fiduciary Corporation, the socially responsible investment firm serving over 300 Quaker institutions in the United States, has dropped its holdings in Hewlett Packard and Veolia Environment, multinational corporations that support Israel’s Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.
Hewlett Packard was removed from Friends Fiduciary’s investments because they provide information technology 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 services to Israeli settlers in the Palestinian Territories and runs a large landfill in the occupied Jordan River valley.
Friends’ Fiduciary’s decision to drop Hewlett Packard and Veolia follows on the heels of another important action, says Anne Remley of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, which initiated the divestment requests. In April, 2012, Friends Fiduciary’s removed Caterpillar Corporation from their list of socially responsible corporations based on the 360-year old Quaker Peace Testimony, which disavows support for war.
Friends were concerned that Caterpillar sells bulldozers to the Israeli army to be weaponized and used in the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes and civilian infrastructure. When this concern was brought to Friends Fiduciary, says Perkins, [Caterpillar] “would neither confirm nor deny the extent or type of modifications to the equipment sold to the Israeli military.”
The action of Friends Fiduciary in dropping these three firms marks a major breakthrough in the global campaign to hold corporations accountable for profiting from Israel’s human rights and international law violations in the Palestinian Territories.