Wednesday, February 29, 2012

IAW@Evergreen: Students Call for TIAA-CREF to Divest from Occupation!

On Wednesday, February 29th, students at The Evergreen State College stood in unity with Israeli Apartheid Week 2012.

Students stood on Red Square during the lunch hour, holding books about the the Occupied Territories and Palestinian history, blindfolded by the images of the US and Israeli flags. The vigil was called to symbolize the obstacles to education faced by Palestinian students because of the US-funded Israeli military occupation of Palestine.

Greeners also worked to bring attention to the complicity of investment firm TIAA-CREF in human rights abuses committed against Palestinians. Using the vigil as a launching pad, students affiliated with TESC Divest! collected signatures on a petition calling on TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that profit from the occupation. 

The students were "branded" with the logos of war-profiteers that TIAA-CREF invests in, such as Elbit Systems which maintains surveillance systems along the Apartheid wall, Motorola which maintains checkpoints, and Northrop Grumman whose missles were used to attack civilians during Operation Cast Lead, Israelis 2008-09 military offensive in Gaza which left 1,400 non-combatants dead, and Caterpillar, whose D9 weaponized bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes and were used in the 2003 murder of Evergreen senior Rachel Corrie.

TIAA-CREF, which handles the retirement funds for thousands of teachers and college professors across the country, also handles the pension funds for Evergreen faculty. Evergreen professor Larry Mosqueda, a former teacher of Rachel Corrie's, has noted in a TESC Divest video that "Just as South Africa was an apartheid state, Israel is an apartheid state and the people of Palestine shouldn't be exploited anymore." Faculty like Mosqueda, however, are not permitted to invest their pensions in Occupation-free accounts through TIAA-CREF--even through so-called "Socially Responsible" accounts.

The protestors also advertised a screening of "Slingshot Hip Hop", to be screened on campus tomorrow, Thursday, March 1st as part of Israeli Apartheid Week at Evergreen. The documentary is advertised as "the acclaimed film about several Palestinian rap groups in Israel and the Occupied Territories, which follows the struggles these young people face in connecting with each other across Israel's apartheid wall in the West Bank and siege of the Gaza Strip."

More pictures at the TESC Divest! flickr

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