[pjw] INFO/ACTION?: City should not change investments policy without public input

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Dec 14 18:05:41 EST 2021

PJW supporters
The Iraq Affinity Group has regularly tracked the City investment policy 
issue for years, in particular in partnership with our allies working for 
justice in Israel/Palestine.

I noticed a major change being proposed to the investment policy on Sunday 
(though the agenda was put up on Friday) and only just now got some 
comments to Council. I'm signed up to testify-- which you can only do if 
you happen to read this email before 4 PM by clicking on item 902 here:


The Council meeting starts at 9:30 AM and this could come up as early as 
10 or 10:15 AM.

If you don't get to sign up you can email the Council at the below 
addresses or at least send testimony to the Council Clerk who will 
distribute it:

cctestimony at portlandoregon.gov

I'll let our email to Council do the rest of the talking a it explains the 
history of the policy and some of the problems with the current proposal.

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2021 15:00:20
From: Peace and Justice Works <pjw at pjw.info>
To: Portland City Council -- Commissioner Carmen Rubio
     <comm.rubio at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Dan Ryan <commissionerryanoffice at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty <joann at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Mingus Mapps <mappsoffice at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Portland City Council Mayor Ted Wheeler <mayorwheeler at portlandoregon.gov>
Cc: cctestimony at portlandoregon.gov, Peace and Justice Works <pjw at pjw.info>
Subject: COMMENT: City should not change investments policy without public input

To Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners:

Peace and Justice Works is concerned that the new City investments policy being 
considered on Wednesday's agenda leaves open too many loopholes to invest in 
companies that do not support human rights.

There was an intense debate several years ago when the Human Rights Commission 
and community groups pushed to ensure that the investment policy would not 
allow investments in companies illegally doing business in Israeli occupied 
territories. This led to the City making a sweeping but mostly responsive 
decision not to make any investments at all in specific companies, with the 
exception of 12 which are explicitly listed in the existing policy. While some 
of these corporations are morally questionable, the narrowed field improved the 
probability that our City would not be benefiting from human rights violations.

The new policy creates prohibited categories of oil companies, small arm, 
alcoholic beverages, casinos, correctional facilities and security services. We 
support these prohibitions but what about large arms manufacturers and 
companies that add to climate change issues other than oil, for example?

Several states have disinvested from Ben and Jerry's ice cream because they 
made a decision not to sell their products in the occupied Palestinian 
territories. It is notable that Ben and Jerry are both of Jewish heritage, so 
this is about Israeli state policy and not, as claimed by those crying foul, 
anti-Semitism. But the point is that regardless of how you feel about this 
decision, the City is now free to invest or disinvest in Ben and Jerry's or any 
company that does -- or does not-- want to do business in territories that have 
been called illegal by
many United Nations resolutions.

The previous outline for a just investment policy came from a community board 
that gave input to the Council. It is not clear that this new policy came from 
anywhere but the Office of Management and Finance.

Thus we urge Council to retain the current investment policy until a public 
discussion can happen that leads to a true moral document.

Thank you
dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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