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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

CalPERS Investment Committee Meeting
May 13, 2013, Sacramento

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Patricia Daugherty – United Methodist Church – PERS member

Good afternoon. My name is Patricia Daugherty. I'm a member of the Israel Palestine task force of the United Methodist Church the annual conference of Cal/Nevada. I'm also a CalPERS beneficiary.

The United Methodist Church has been actively engaged in an advocacy for Palestinian human rights for decades. Over the past 10 years, this activity has included supporting a boycott of products originating from illegal Israeli settlements and investing divestment options.

I will be reading excerpts from a letter written to you by Reverend Larry George, a United Methodist pastor. And then I'll be giving you the letter in entirety after:

"I respectfully join those urging the CalPERS Board and staff to continue discussions with the IDC representatives in serious consideration of divesting CalPERS financial holdings from corporations that profit from and/or enable Israel's occupation of Palestine.

"Great pressure is being brought to bear on boards and agencies of public, private, and religious institutions by those who claim that they defend Israel by attacking such civil and non-violent efforts as boycotts and divestment. However, boycotts and divestment are historic actions, which simply leverage the legitimate power of the investment portfolio to effect change where human rights have been denied by prolonged deferment.

"There is no question that Israel's policies of discrimination and deception are being more widely exposed by the light of truth. Just this past week renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking decided to boycott Israel's annual FacingTomorrow conference this June". And he's withstanding a barrage of accusations.

Reverend George goes on to say that – [Chair interrupts] -- financially it's prudent also to divest from the companies.

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