Unfortunately attacks against Israel in the responsible investing arena have increased due to inroads by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction) movement. At Cisco's annual shareholder meeting, JLens' Executive Director Julie Hammerman spoke in opposition to two new anti-Israel initiatives.
Fortunately, both resolutions did not pass, and Cisco's CEO Chuck Robbins stated that "Cisco partners with countries around the world, from the US...to Israel...to Saudi Arabia to improve GDP, job growth, healthcare, education, inclusion, and more." As BDS activity increases, JLens is committed to educating corporate leaders and responsible investors about the BDS movement's attempts to manipulate the responsible investing field.
JLens Statement Cisco Annual Shareholder Meeting December 12, 2016
My name is Julie Hammerman and I am the Executive Director of JLens, a responsible investor network that owns thousands of shares of Cisco. We would like to caution our fellow shareholders and our company’s leadership about the manipulation of shareholder advocacy taking place here today by the backers of Resolution 5 and 6.
If Resolution 5, the Holy Land Principles, was truly about employment discrimination, it would mention the many underrepresented groups –women, LGBT, people of African origin, and many more who face employment discrimination by the tech sector, including in the over 90 countries where Cisco has operations. However, Resolution 5 mentions only one country, Israel, and only one underrepresented group, Arabs.
If Resolution 6, the Heartland Initiative, was truly about human rights and peacebuilding, it would express concern for the many conflicts and human rights violations occurring around the world, and promote positive actions that facilitate compromise, coexistence, and peace.
Instead these resolutions aim to create an embarrassing controversy surrounding Cisco’s successful business partnerships in Israel, and to ultimately pressure companies like Cisco to divest their ties with Israel. This is the agenda of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement, a campaign that has been strongly condemned by the US government for being discriminatory.
We ask our fellow shareholders to vote NO for both Resolution 5 and 6. We ask our responsible investing colleagues to recognize that a vote to ABSTAIN only emboldens these types of campaigns and threatens the good reputation of our responsible investing community.
Lastly, we ask our company’s leadership to see these resolutions for what they are, and to continue to make Cisco the standard bearer for how companies should operate around the world with great sensitivity. No company has done more than Cisco to lay the economic foundation for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, including Cisco’s significant investment over the past decade to build the Palestinian tech sector.
As authentic responsible investing practitioners, as genuine advocates for peace, and as long-term Cisco shareholders, we applaud your efforts. Thank you.