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Quaker group divests from companies working in Israel

(JTA) – A Quaker group has removed a French and an American company from its financial portfolio due to what it calls the companies’ involvement with Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

Friends Fiduciary Corporation will drop the French multinational corporation Veolia Environment and the U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard from its portfolio following requests from Quakers concerned about the companies’ involvement in the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands. 

FFC has investments of more than $250,000 in HP and more than $140,000 in Veolia, according to the We Divest Campaign. The money is part of an overall $200 million in assets and investments for more than 250 Quaker meetings, schools, organizations, trusts, and endowments around the country. 

The Quaker group does not issue public announcements about such moves, but did send a letter confirming the information, Anna Baltzer, a spokesperson for the We Divest Campaign, told JTA.

“It’s not private; it’s public information and they’ve written a letter to the Friends Meeting in Ann Arbor Michigan that raised the issue,” she said. The Ann Arbor group did not return JTA’s call for this article. 

However, Jeffrey W. Perkins, the FFC’s Executive Director, said in a press release issued by We Divest that HP provides information technology consulting services to the Israeli Navy and Veolia Environment is involved in “environmental and social concerns” with the Israeli military, 

This decision comes a few months after the FFC dropped shares in Caterpillar Inc. because Caterpillar “would neither confirm nor deny the extent or type of modifications to equipment sold to the Israeli military,” according to the release. 

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