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Rebuttal to Anti-Investment Responsibiity Presentation

Rebuttal to Anti-Investment Responsibiity Presentation

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Published by StanfordSPER
Rebuttal to Anti-Investment Responsibiity Presentation
Rebuttal to Anti-Investment Responsibiity Presentation

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Published by: StanfordSPER on Mar 04, 2013
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March 1, 20131
Formal Rebuttal to Anti-Investment Responsibility Presentation
 
Claim
: Argued that the investment responsibility bill presented is not neutral.
Response
: Investment in companies that profit from practices that violate human rights andinternational law
is not neutral. That is today‟s reality, as Stanford‟s endowment subsidizescompanies engaging in these sorts of practices. A „no‟ vote would directly support the
continuation of these policies. The debate over whether a yes or no vote is more neutral, though,misses the point. One should not be neutral in the face of significant human rights abuses.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu who struggled against Apartheid in South Africa once stated, “If you
are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant hasits foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate
your neutrality.”
 
Claim:
Selective divestment is not local; it is global. It is a global conspiracy to weaken andisolate Israel. SPER chose their companies because they are on BDS websites.
 
Response:
This bill specifically focuses on eight companies, chosen based on involvement in
four types of activities that violate human rights and international law, and Stanford‟s
relationship to them. It merely requests the Board of Trustees to review its investments to ensure
it adheres to the principles laid out in the Stanford Statement on Investment Responsibility. It‟s
interesting that Alon, who has never been to a SPER meeting, claims to have expertise on howSPER developed this campaign. The eight companies were chosen based on significant researchconducted by Stanford students, faculty, and alumni and we would challenge those notsupporting the bill to cite to a single other campaign or website that specifies these exactcompanies. You will not find it.
 
Claim:
Using Caterpillar bulldozers stops Hamas rocket fire and reduces the need to use militaryforce on Palestinians.
 
Response:
This claim creates a false distinction between military force and the use of bulldozers.Bulldozers are among the tools used by Israel to maintain the illegal occupation of the WestBank and blockade of Gaza. While Israel argues that home demolitions are necessary for securityreasons, the majority of home demolitions have taken place in the West Bank, where Hamasrocket brigades are not present. Home demolitions often tear down entire complexes with little or no advanced warning, causing families to lose their homes and property. Some have also beencrushed to death by the demolition itself. Bulldozers have destroyed over 27,000 Palestinian
homes and displaced 160,000 people since 1967. Amnesty International “considers these
 punitive forced evictions and house demolitions as a flagrant form of collective punishment, a
violation of a fundamental principle of international law. The Israeli authorities‟ claim that such
demolitions are effective in dissuading potential attackers is entirely irrelevant in light of International humanitarian law, which places clear limits on the actions which an occupying power may take in the name of security, and the absolute prohibition on collective punishment is
one of the most important of these rules.”
Sources
 
March 1, 20132
Claim:
The separation barrier saved lives and reduced violence. The separation barrier is mostlya fence.
Response:
Israel has the right under international law to defend itself and construct a separation barrier on
its side of the „Green Line‟, the recognized boundary between Israel and the West
Bank, as the US has done on the Mexican border. However, 85% of the separation barrier is builtin the West Bank and annexes nearly 10% of that territory, including its most fertile land andvital water resources. That would be the equivalent of the US annexing over 70,000 square miles
from Mexico when it built its wall. The International Court of Justice, the world‟s highest legal
 body, in a 2004 opinion deemed the structure illegal, declaring it amounts to a de factoannexation that violated human rights, and called for it to be immediately dismantled. It further called on states not to recognize the structure, for Israel to pay reparations, and for the UN totake action to stop it. The structure is indeed mostly fence, but is four times as long as the BerlinWall and, in some spots, rises to twice its height.
 
Sources
http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6
 
Claim:
Cement Roadstone Holdings builds and dismantles checkpoints. There are only 12checkpoints in the West Bank.
 
Response:
These statistics involve a clever redefiniti
on of „checkpoint‟. According to the Israelihuman rights group B‟Tselem, as of December 2012, there were 97 fixed checkpoints in theWest Bank. This number does not include „flying‟ checkpoints, roadblocks, and other closureobstacles. The UN‟s Office for 
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found that Israeloperated 450 closure obstacles in the West Bank in 2012. Cement Roadstone Holdings has played a key role in building checkpoints, but also in the construction and maintenance of theSeparation Bar 
rier. To say that Cement Roadstone Holding‟s role in dismantling checkpoints
excuses its conduct in building them is the equivalent of saying that a gunman should be excused
for shooting someone if s/he tends to that person‟s injuries after the fact.
 
Sources
:http://www.btselem.org/freedom_of_movement/checkpoints_and_forbidden_roads
 
Claim:
Administrative control over the West Bank is still in the hands of Israel and there has not been a solution to the issue; therefore, where Ahava operates in the West Bank is in Israeliterritory.
 
Response:
All of the West Bank is considered to be occupied territory, including where Ahavaoperates. While the Oslo Accords specified temporary arrangements to be made until a finalagreement was reached, it was not a final-status agreement, nor did it declare that the West Bank is no longer occupied. These settlements are thereby illegal under the 4
th
Geneva Convention,which states no occupying power can transport its citizens into occupied territory. Therefore,
Ahava‟s extraction of minerals from the Dead Sea in the West Bank is illegal.
 
Sources
:
http://www.btselem.org/sites/default/files/201105_dispossession_and_exploitation_eng.pdf  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/03/israel-accused-dead-sea-occupied 
 
March 1, 20133
Claim:
Motorola monitors both Palestinian and Israeli activity for security purposes and is
stationed in „suburbs of Jerusalem‟ and the Jordan Valley.
 
Response:
 
Both the Jordan Valley and „suburbs of Jerusalem‟ (a euphemism for areas in East
Jerusalem that Israel has annexed in violation of international law without providing Palestiniancitizens there with citizenship rights) are located in the West Bank, which, as mentioned above,is illegally occupied. Motorola operates in Israeli-only settlements, illegal under internationallaw. It also actively facilitates the monitoring of Palestinians living under military occupation- avery different dynamic that its policies towards the settlers it aspires to protect.
 
Sources
: 
Claim:
Mekorot just does what the Israeli government tells them to do. Divesting from Mekorot
won‟t do anything. Israel gives more water to Palestinians than agreed upon in the Oslo Accords.
 
Response:
Mekorot helps facilitate policies that violate human rights; while it is true that Israelcarries out these policies, they rely on corporations like Mekorot to effectuate these policies andcorporations are bound to adhere to binding law. While Israel is selling more water than it isobligated to according to the 1995 Oslo II Agreement (Article 40), they continue to allocateIsraeli settlers nearly six times the water resources it allocates to Palestinians. The Oslo Accordswere meant to be a temporary arrangement that eventually led to an end to the Israeli occupationand not a final status agreement. Even under Oslo though, Israel has prevented Palestinians from
developing its own water resources. Israel‟s obstruction of Palestinian water development has
forced Palestinians to be dependent on purchasing water from Israel, 80% of which it takes fromland it illegally annexed in the West Bank. Visitors to the West Bank often note that while Israelisettlements frequently have swimming pools, nearby Palestinian villages sometimes do notreceive water 5 days a week.
Sources
: 
Claim:
Segregation on Veolia buses is a lie. No IDs are required to get on buses.
 
Response
: This is simply inaccurate. While it is true that Palestinians with blue ids (who aretemporary legal residents of East Jerusalem-- they have been denied citizenship by Israel eventhough it annexed the land), a Palestinian with a green ID, which includes all residents of theWest Bank, cannot get on a bus to Jerusalem. Israeli settlers who live in the same territory have adifferent color ID, though, and can ride on the bus and tramline. In November 2011, Stanfordgraduate Fadi Quran, inspired by the Freedom Riders of the American Civil Rights Movement,and several other Palestinians attempted to stay on a bus going to Jerusalem along with other Palestinian activists and they were arrested solely on the basis of being Palestinian and havinggreen IDs. There is in place a system of separate roads and checkpoints in the West Bank thatPalestinians cannot use--roads that Israeli settlers in the same territory can. If the bus operates onthe Israeli only roads, Palestinians with green IDs cannot use them. Veolia operates some of these Israeli only buses and the tramway connecting the settlements to Jerusalem.
 
Sources
:

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