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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

CalPERS Investment Committee Meeting
May 13, 2013, Sacramento

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SHERNA BERGER GLUCK, IDC Coordinating Committee - PERS Member

My name is Sherna Berger Gluck. I'm a retired faculty member from the California State University Long Beach, [a]former Vice President of CFA, SEIU 1981. And I'm one of the three representatives of the Israel Divestment Campaign that has been in conversation with PERS staff at your direction.

We're not here today to talk about the situation in the occupied territories, at least the three of us, but what we're here today to do is to contest the report made March 18th by the director of corporate governance, who we believe mischaracterized the quote engagement process with Elbit and Veolia.

So in other words, what we're here today to do is respond, because we were not aware that that report was going to be made March 18th. So this is our response to that report. And I'm going to speak specifically about Elbit.

Elbit's response was characterized as being detailed. It was forwarded to us on October 31st. It's not totally clear to us when PERS received it, but we did not receive it until October 31st. And Cheree has a copy of the email from Bill McGrew, and that will be sent to you. . . [Exchange with the chair ensues about the time limit]

[Resuming ] - Let me just tell you, putting on my professor's hat, if I had received the kind of response that Elbit sent to PERS from a student of mine, I would have called them in and said have you read the material?

Okay. And so how would you address Elbit's involvement in the construction of the separation wall, which has been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice?

How would you address the fact that Elbit services illegal settlements?

And finally, how would you address the fact that the Norwegian Pension Fund sent its Council on ethical -- I think it's just called Norwegian Ethical Council to Israel to investigate, and concluded that its national pension fund should divest from Elbit, which it did.

To our knowledge, none of this was done. PERS simply accepted that. We sent more material. We understood that our responses were being sent and that PERS was awaiting further word from Elbit – [interruption by the chair] -- but the process was characterized as being completed with Elbit's – [another interruption by the chair] -- detailed response. Thank you.

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