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Mondoweiss
The War of Ideas in the Middle East


CalPERS Investment Committee Meeting
May 13, 2013, Sacramento

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Cliff Berg of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee was the next speaker before IDC speakers continued


Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of CalPERS. Cliff Berg here on behalf of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee, which represents the organized Jewish community in California, including the Jewish federations of Los Angeles, the greater Bay Area, San Diego, as well as the Jewish Community Relations Councils and other Jewish agencies.

I am here today to urge you to avoid getting the CalPERS Board and CalPERS entangled in, what I would call, a complex and difficult foreign policy issue.* Foreign policy issues such as this are the purview of the United States government. And, in particular, in this issue, I would urge you not to get involved, because we believe that doing so would put you in a position of being contrary to the policy -- foreign policy of the United States government, both Congress and the president of the United States.

It is clear that Israel is an important ally of the United States in the Middle East. Israel remains the only democracy that respects human rates, its government, not only is elected in a Democratic process, but it has a parliamentary judicial and political system that recognizes the diversity of all its citizens.

Unfortunately, in the Middle East, at this time, Israel remains the only Democratic government and ally of the United States. And the requests that you have before you would put you in a position of being contrary to the position of the President and the Congress of the United States and supporting Israel's efforts to defend itself.

Unfortunately, the so-called occupation would be best resolved by a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East. The requests that you have before you not only will not help bring about a peace process in the Middle East, but will hinder the peace process in the Middle East, peace in the Middle East depends upon Israel believing that it can trade land for peace, constant efforts to demonize Israel and its right to defend itself in the Middle East only hamper the ability to reach a comprehensive settlement. We would urge you to reject these requests.


*Ed. note: This characterization is very similar to the comment made by Anne Simpson, CalPERS Director of Global Governance, in her report to the Investment Committee on March 18, 2013. That report is what led the committee to abort the "engagement process." It can be viewed starting at approximately 8 minutes into the video.



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