Teachers in Canada launch divestment campaign
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Teachers in Canada launch divestment campaign

On the anniversary of Gaza massacre, Teachers for Palestine is launching a website and petition, calling for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to divest from companies supporting Israeli apartheid.

Teachers for Palestine is a group of elementary and secondary teachers in Toronto who are raising awareness among Canadian educators about apartheid in Palestine and working for divestment of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) from corporations that support Israeli apartheid and occupation within ’48 Palestine and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Targeted for divestment are companies involved in the theft of Palestinian land and resources. One is Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH), which through its share in an Israeli subsidiary contributes cement to the Wall. Siemens AG has also been included for collaborating with Mekorot, the Israeli national water carrier. Mekorot is responsible not only for cutting off water to Palestinian villages, but also supplies settlements and smaller “outposts” with water.

The OTPP also holds investments in companies supporting the Israeli military. Lockheed Martin, for example, is an American firm that has contracts with several branches of the Israeli military, and is on the verge of sealing a 20 billion deal to provide fighter jets. Teachers for Palestine have also called for divestment from two Canadian companies that work with the Israeli military industry. Finning International is a distributor of Caterpillar products, while Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates is involved in a joint project with Israeli Aerospace industries (IAI) to build UAVs in Canada.

The Plan had combined investments of over $582 million of these five companies in 2009. In total, the Plan’s investments in Israel totaled over $3.7 billion, ranging from Israeli companies to multinationals with direct projects in Israel or with Israeli corporate partners.

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan does not, as a matter of policy, consider investment on ethical or moral principles. There was one exception: in the 1990s the Plan, under public pressure, was allowed to divest from apartheid South Africa. Today, following the Palestinian call for BDS, Canadian teachers are struggling to force the OTPP divest from another apartheid system, this time in Palestine.

Learn more about the campaign and about Teachers for Palestine here.