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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

CalPERS Investment Committee Meeting
May 13, 2013, Sacramento

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Ellen Levy – JVP – PERS member – reading letter from Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb

My name is Ellen Levy and I'm here today as both a PERS member and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. And I am going to share with you a brief letter from Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb who couldn't be here today, and she is a member Rabbinic Council and the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace.

"Dear friends, we learn from many sacred traditions. When you harm one human being, you harm all human beings. CalPERS believes in the well-being of the human family as an institution that supports the retirement of people who have served the public.

"Our traditions also teach us, however, not to profit from the suffering of other people. As citizens of the United States, we stand against labor exploitation and certainly we stand against systems of government based on segregation. This is exactly what Caterpillar, Veolia, and Elbit are promoting by profiting from destroying Palestinian homes, building the illegal separation barrier, and supporting Jewish only public transportation and roads.

"Divestment is a non-violent means to express our collective withdrawal of consent from companies that make money from the violation of human rights. This goes against our values of fairness and concern. I have been an on-the-ground witness to the growth of the occupation and settlement industry for decades.

I have seen homes destroyed, roads closed, collective punishment, and mass arrest, all enabled by Caterpillar's militarized bulldozers, Elbit's security systems on the separation barrier, and illegal settlements, and Veolia's contract to build a segregated mass transit system.

"I stand with tens of thousands of other Jewish people in Jewish Voice for Peace who support divestment campaigns aimed at corporations that profit from occupation.

"As a faith based leader in the Jewish community for 40 years, as a member of the Rabbinic Council of Jewish Voice for Peace and as a person of conscience, I support the We Divest campaign. I invite you to do the same.

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb."

Thank you.

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