JLens’ Statement in Opposition to the Holy Land Principles Resolution
(Cisco Annual Shareholder Meeting, Nov 19, 2015)
My name is Julie Hammerman and I run a socially responsible investment organization called JLens. We urge a vote against the Holy Land Principles for three reasons.
First, the resolution proposes costly and burdensome requirements for Cisco’s operations in Israel. It is clear from the Holy Land Principles website they support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This campaign promotes economic warfare, and is designed to create obstacles for corporate relations with Israel. It is strongly opposed by the US government. The Holy Land Principles claim to represent anti-discrimination, when in fact they support a discriminatory campaign waged against the Jewish side in a two-sided dispute.
Second, the resolution was purposely written to deceive shareholders and avoid objections from Cisco’s management and the SEC. To paraphrase the Holy Land Principles website: “The Principles are deliberately general to present a commonsense affirmation of anti-discrimination. After the Principles are accepted by the company, the monitors, activist shareholders, and advocacy organizations can draw out the specifics.” As shareholders, we deserve the specifics on any resolution, before a vote is requested.
Third, Cisco is already a leader in corporate social responsibility and should avoid any association with radical activists that will damage the company’s good reputation. It’s obvious the filer of this resolution knows very little about Cisco’s initiatives in Israel. In addition to supporting Israeli workforce diversity, Cisco has invested $15 million to build the Palestinian technology sector, and was recognized by the US State Department for creating jobs, improving lives, and laying the groundwork for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Perhaps the filer thinks Cisco can easily be conned into supporting something that sounds decent but hides a sinister agenda.
For these reasons, we urge a vote AGAINST the discriminatory Holy Land Principles resolution. We ask Cisco’s management to continue to serve as leaders of responsible business around the world to protect our interests as long-term shareholders. Thank you.