Opposition to Berkeley's Israel divestment resolution
Updated: Sep 12
Public Testimony Opposing the City of Berkeley's Israel Divestment Resolution At the core of tonight’s resolution is an investment decision. My name is Julie Hammerman and I run JLens, a network of socially responsible Jewish investors. They care about the planet, so they invest in clean energy. They care about the homeless, so they invest in affordable housing. They care about peace and human rights, so they invest in solutions.
They are too sophisticated to be fooled by the Israel divestment campaign. Divesting from companies that do business with Israel does nothing to resolve the conflict. It doesn’t bring the parties together, it doesn’t create trust and compromise. Rather the divestment campaign discriminates against the Jewish side in a two-sided dispute.
If BDS activists truly cared about human rights, they wouldn’t tell you to ignore the many countries in the world with significantly worse human rights concerns compared to Israel. If they cared about socially responsible investing, they wouldn’t tell you that the Israel divestment campaign is superior to the fossil fuel divestment campaign, as was noted in the materials for tonight’s meeting.
BDS activists have co-opted the powerful platform of socially responsible investing and the tool of divestment for one purpose – to destroy Israel. The handful of Jews speaking in favor of divestment tonight do not compare to the millions of Jews who are sickened by continued efforts to discriminate against the Jewish people. If Berkeley truly seeks peace, invest in Israeli-Palestinian business collaborations. If Berkeley cares about the Palestinians, invest in economic security, infrastructure, and job creation. If Berkeley cares about human rights, advocate with the companies you own to provide safe work, fair pay, and inclusive workplaces around the world.
Berkeley can make a difference with your investments. But discriminatory campaigns against Jews, or anyone, is not in Berkeley’s DNA.