WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Another key milestone has been reached in the campaign to raise the long-delayed but vitally urgent issue of fair employment by American companies doing business in Israel-Palestine.
The fair employment campaign is centered on the Holy Land Principles— an 8-point corporate code of conduct for American companies doing business in Palestine-Israel.
At the Cisco Shareholder's Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA, on Thursday, November 19, the Holy Land Principle, Inc. moved its Resolution calling on Cisco to sign the Holy Land Principles.
Over 90 Million shares (97,407,898) voted for the Holy Land Principles resolution. That represents in dollars $2.686 Billion (based on the weekend's closing price of $27.57 per Cisco share). And if one adds the Abstentions as also withholding approval from Cisco's position (of opposing the Holy Land Principles), one gets $8.593 Billion voting for the Holy Land Principles or Abstaining from opposing the Principles.
Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President of the Capitol Hill-based Holy Land Principles and Irish National Caucus said: "By any criterion, that has to get Cisco's attention. No company, no matter how big or powerful, wants to ignore figures like that— particularly since it is the very first time a Resolution on Cisco's fair employment in Israel-Palestine has been moved at a Cisco Annual Shareholder Meeting. Cisco was founded in 1984, and in all those years nobody but Holy Land Principles, Inc. raised this issue. That surely, in and of itself, tells the world that it had to be done— that the elephant in the (board) room had to be acknowledged."
The Holy Land Principles came within just two -tenths of one percent (2.8) of achieving the threshold of 3%, which would enable the same Resolution being resubmitted next year.
But that, according to Fr. Mc Manus, is not a problem: "We will come back at Cisco next year with a Resolution calling for Cisco to disclose the breakdown of its workforce in Palestine-Israel using the nine job categories which are utilized in the U.S. Department of Labor's EEO-1 Report (Officials and Managers; Professionals; Technicians; Sales Workers; Office and Clerical; Skilled Craft Workers; Semi-Skilled Operatives; and Unskilled Laborers).
Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President of the Holy Land Principles Inc., who moved/presented the Resolution said: "It was an honor and a privilege to move the Resolution at such an important meeting. As I told the Cisco Board, the assembled investors and the global internet audience: "The genie is now out of the bottle, and is never going back in. The Holy Land Principles are here to stay and will grow stronger every day… For nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
Anti-Holy Land Principles Campaign
As happened with the Mac Bride Principles campaign, there was also the anti-Mac Bride campaign. So, too, with the Holy Land Principles. And here an important contextual note must be made: It is essential — for institutional and historical memory and for a proper existential understanding of the dynamics of a campaign, its steps and missteps — that the evolution of a campaign, and the anti-campaign be recorded. Not for blame or recrimination, but for clear thinking and far-sighted vision—in order to stay the course and not keep going round in circles. Furthermore, people need to be fully aware what really goes on in a campaign to get a company sign a set of fair employment principles for overseas.
It was just a matter of time before the anti-Holy Land Principles campaign was inevitably launched. The first attempt to sabotage the Holy Land Principles was, shockingly, by the American Friends Service Committee, which allowed itself to be manipulated into "crossing over" to join the companies in opposing, and calling for a vote against, the Holy Land Principles.
An unconscionable lack of solidarity, as good Labor people have put it.
The second assault on the Holy Land Principles came on March 11, 2015. Mark A. Regier—of Everence, and Praxis Mutual Funds, and Secretary of both ICCR and US SIF— whom Fr. Mc Manus had never met or heard of, issued a totally gratuitous and contrived attack. He told a Washington PR Firm that he refused to talk with Fr. Mc Manus on the phone, declaring: "there was already concern about the hyperbole and overreach that has characterized HLP communications to this point…"
"Hyperbole and overreach?" Seriously? The only modest claim Holy Land Principles, Inc. makes is that it is filling a vacuum that was crying out to be filled. Reiger's peculiar interjection was so reminiscent of the anti-Mac Bride attacks to which Fr. Mc Manus used to be subjected: as if Reiger were fronting for someone else because his attack made no natural sense and was unconvincing and artificial. The British Government used to get a whole menagerie of people, in Church and State, to attack Fr. Mc Manus and the Mac Bride Principles. The purpose was, of course, to sow confusion in good people's minds— the political version, so to speak, of counter insurgency tactics. That is how governments and powerful forces manipulate public opinion. Only the totally naive find that hard to believe. It is just a fact of life. It should be added here, that the Holy Land Principles Inc. would never dream of initiating an unprovoked attack on an another organization working in the field of responsible investment. Never. Period.
The third " declaration of war" on the inherently good Holy Land Principles came on May 21 at the Intel Shareholder Annual Meeting in California. After Fr. Mc Manus spoke on the Resolution, two speakers planted in the audience rose to their feet and declared Fr. Mc Manus' speech to be an "anti-Semitic screed." A shocking and outrageous falsehood that the audience recognized.
Then at the Cisco Annual Shareholder Meeting, a man from the floor made a speech defending the State of Israel from its inception in 1948, and declared the Holy Land Principles to be "superfluous." He was followed by a lady from the floor, who described herself as working for a Socially Responsible Investment organization. She proceeded to make totally irresponsible and false statements. Barbara Flaherty's opening words were: "The Holy Land Principles are pro-Jewish, pro-Palestinians and pro-Company. The Principles do not call for quotas, reverse discrimination, divestment, disinvestment or boycotts. The Principles do not try to tell the Palestinians or the Israelis what to do."
Despite those crystal clear words, the lady from the floor proceeded to charge that the Holy Land Principles were part of BDS and anti-Israel, and as such were opposed by the United States Government.
Fr. Mc Manus said: "What sort of a Socially Responsible Investment company will tolerate such irresponsible and malicious misrepresentation? I expect that company to issue a public apology and disassociate itself from the lady's remarks. It is the responsible thing to do."
Fr. Mc Manus concluded: "It was striking that both the man and lady speaking from the floor tried to change the subject from Cisco to the State of Israel. There is not word in the Holy Land Principles, or in Barbara's speech, that makes demands of the Israelis or the Palestinians, only of Cisco (and all the other 544 American companies doing business in the Holy Land). We will not be deterred by such tactics. I have learned from my experience with the Mac Bride Principles, that governments, Churches, companies and other interests can easily manage to get elements in the Right, Left and Center to oppose fair employment Principles. I have also learned that it is not important to try and judge motives or know who's really behind the roadblocks. I just know a roadblock is a roadblock, irrespective of the motivations behind it. And so, with charity to all and malice to none, we press ahead with the Holy Land Principles, which only make inherently fair and eminently reasonable demands of American companies doing business in Israel-Palestine.
Responsible investors, faith-based or ethical-based investors can never again ignore this vital issue. Perhaps they had some excuse before the Holy Land Principles were put on the agenda, but now no excuse is possible. It is either action on behalf of fairness or complicity in unfair employment."
Fr. Sean Mc Manus
Holy Land Principles, Inc.
P.O. BOX 15128
Washington, DC 20003-0849
SOURCE Holy Land Principles