Letter to CT Treasurer - Break All Ties with Israel
State of Connecticut
cc: Deputy Treasurer Christine Shaw, State Senator Gary Holder-Winfield
Dear Ms. Nappier:
July 28, 2014
I wrote to you in February 2011 (see below) to implore you to get the state of Connecticut to break financial ties with Israel in view of its oppression of Palestinians and its repeated human rights abuses by its soldiers. You wrote back and said you would continue to invest in that country. In 2011 the state of Connecticut had some $4,000,000 in Israel bonds. How much does the state hold now?
My non-expert reading of the 2013 CT “Combined Investment Funds” report ( http://www.ott.ct.gov/PDFs/2013CIF_CAFR.pdf ) leads me to the conclusion that the state has near $400,000 in Israeli shekels and 11 million (unclear if in dollars or shekels) in common stock in Israeli companies (p.35). Do I have that correctly?
I won’t talk about all the Israeli abuses since 2011. I’ll just talk about the last couple weeks, over a thousand dead Palestinians in Gaza, whole families wiped out (a family of 25 in one case), a U.N. school deliberately shelled, mosques attacked, a whole neighborhood of Gaza city reduced to grey rubble, killing of four young boys on a beach and on and on.
Israeli companies and its government are admittedly doing well financially. They have certain unfair advantages. They operate on stolen land. They super-exploit Palestinian workers, and foreigners (from Rumania to China) and have one of the most unequal distributions of income in the world among Jewish citizens. The Israeli government is in no threat of default because it gets immense gifts from the U.S. in foreign aid from our taxes (all the while millions of Americans languish in deep poverty and tens of thousands of citizens in Detroit suffer water cut-offs).
One could indeed argue that the state of Connecticut investments in Israel are “safe” and “doing well”. But does the state of CT treasury have the right to prosper off the misery of millions? Should it have invested in apartheid South Africa on the grounds that investments there could have made enormous profits?
Once again I ask you to immediately announce the sale of any Israel Bonds, Israeli currency or Israeli common stock. Members of our committee would be happy to meet with you to discuss this matter.
State of Connecticut
February 17, 2011
We are writing to you on behalf of the Middle East Crisis Committee, a Connecticut based human rights organization, concerning the state of Connecticut’s Israel Bond holdings. We understand that Connecticut currently holds $4.4 million in State of Israel Bonds up from $3.9 million in 2009.
The Israeli government is a repeat violator of basic human rights. Non-Jewish Israeli citizens are not afforded the same rights as their Jewish counterparts. The Israeli raid on a flotilla of humanitarian aid activists in international waters on May 31st 2010 violated human rights leading to the deaths of nine people. Israel violates human rights by building settlements, expanding the separation wall, and by providing roads and certain services for Jews only. We object to the state using Connecticut taxpayers’ money to fund these human rights abuses.
We are proud that Connecticut has joined the host of other states that have divested from Sudan. The reasons to divest from Israel are much the same. Both states have terrible human rights records. This is similar to the conflicts in South Africa and Northern Ireland. Three Connecticut cities divested from South Africa and the state of Connecticut has followed the MacBride principles when investing in companies that operate in Northern Ireland.
Connecticut has been a leader in supporting human rights and we would like to encourage similar leadership on this issue. There are several investments the state could make that would meet state requirements and not financially support human rights abuses.
We would like to request a meeting with you regarding this issue. Please contact us at the address and phone listed above.