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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

CalPERS Investment Committee Meeting
May 13, 2013, Sacramento

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Delphine Brody – Jewish Voice for Peace – PERS member

Good afternoon. My name is Delphine Brody. I'm Jewish American mental health client survivor advocate and California taxpayer. I have the good fortune to work with State employees and retirees on a regular basis.

Our collaborative work is focused on our shared values. We want to see action taken to end mental health disparities, prejudice and discrimination, violence, psychological trauma, homelessness, and the separation of families.

It is in this spirit that I'm here today to call on CalPERS to make socially responsible investment decisions that reduce rather than contribute to these tragic and entirely preventable phenomena, and to divest from multi-national corporations whose enterprises are destroying the lives of millions -- excuse me, the lives and mental health of millions of people, whole populations in the Middle East and here in the U.S.

I have only time to shed light on one example, Elbit Systems Limited, one of the world's largest defense electronics manufacturers in which CalPERS owns 2.4 million in stock. That stock has been devalued in recent years. And at least four nations have divested.

Elbit has profited for decades from Israel's many attacks on unarmed Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. Elbit designs and supplies integrated unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, including the largest models, which are called Hermes, which can be outfitted with missiles. They have repeatedly bombed the people of Gaza, including many civilians and children. In December 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights estimated that Israeli drones had killed 825 people in Gaza, mostly civilians.

The targeted killings in Gaza with Elbit's Hermes drones have been condemned by Human Rights Watch and have been -- and have prompted Amnesty International to call for a suspension of UK arm sales to Israel.

[Chair interrupts] The children are being terrorized by these drones. Please do what's right.

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