September 13, 2010To: Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.President and CEO, TIAA-CREFDear Mr. Ferguson,First off, we wish to welcome to you to the University of Massachusetts and, in particular, to our Bostoncampus. We are very pleased that the head of an organization that prides itself on its work “serving the greatergood” has agreed to speak here at UMass Boston, which we believe is also committed to this goal. As the onlypublic university in the city, our urban mission commits us to providing high-quality, affordable, accessibleeducation for all. As UMass Boston faculty and staff, then, we are committed not simply to education but alsoto serving the greater Boston community.Many of us also use TIAA-CREF for our retirement plans. We do so in part because we admire yourcompany’s commitment to socially responsible investing. We therefore write to you today not only asconcerned citizens and educators, but also as clients. We hope you will read what we have to say with both of these commitments in mind.We are gravely concerned that TIAA-CREF earns money for our retirement funds by investing in companiesthat perpetuate and profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. For example, TIAA-CREFinvests substantial funds in Caterpillar, a company whose bulldozers routinely demolish Palestinians’ homesand uproot their olive trees. Both of these actions are not simply cruel and destructive, but also illegal underinternational law. Israel could not undertake them without Caterpillar’s help and, it must be pointed out, thefinancial support of TIAA-CREF. (We’re sure we need not remind you that a 23-year-old American citizen,Rachel Corrie, was bulldozed to death in 2003 by the Israeli army as she stood in front of a Caterpillar bulldozer intent on destroying a Palestinian family’s home in Rafah.) TIAA-CREF also invests in Elbit Systems,a company that makes killer drones which Israel uses for its illegal, targeted assassinations of Palestiniancivilians in the West Bank and Gaza. These acts are so heinous that the Norwegian Finance Ministry recentlydivested its own pension fund from this company. TIAA-CREF also invests in Motorola, a company thatmanufactures the surveillance equipment Israel uses at checkpoints, watchtowers, and sniper stationsthroughout the West Bank and in tandem with its illegal Separation Wall. These surveillance systems areessential to maintaining the many illegal settlements Israel has built inside the West Bank. Finally, TIAA-CREFinvests in Veolia, a French company that intends to build a light rail system connecting the illegally annexedEast Jerusalem with the many illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as Northrup Grumman,which supplies the Israeli Army with parts for the Apache AH64D Longbow Helicopter, the radar for F-16combat jets, and Longbow Hellfire II missiles. Weapons made by Northrup Grumman have been used byIsrael to kill
of Palestinians in the past decade alone.