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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

CalPERS Investment Committee Meeting
May 13, 2013, Sacramento

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Emily Alma – Chico Palestine Action Group

My name is Emily Alma. I am not a PERS employee, but I have worked in the nonprofit sector for 25 years, and I've been a California taxpayer, so I'm involved.

I'm also the coordinator for the Chico Palestine Action Group. And we started with the IDC petitions. In northern California, north of Sacramento in semi-rural areas, we gathered signatures for 20 percent of the signatures that were turned in a couple of years ago.

People were eager in our area to sign this petition. People would grab the pen out of our hand to sign the petition, because their sensitivity to the injustices that are happening to Palestinian people in the name of the United States closing a blind eye to Israeli oppression of Palestinians. So we were eager to urge this socially responsible entity of CalPERS and CalSTRS to observe those socially responsible principles in this case.

I traveled in October 2011 to the west bank in Israel. I saw piles of rubble that were once homes of people destroyed by Caterpillar. I saw the separation wall dividing within the Palestinian territories dividing people, people's home from their orchards, homes from their schools, in Bethlehem the city from the outlying rural areas, that's Elbit. And I saw the Veolia toxic waste dump that -- on Palestinian land that is collecting waste for the people in the settlements.

CHAIRPERSON JONES: Your time is up.

MS. ALMA: I need to stop there. Please consider this a socially responsible issue.

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