Posted By: March 22, 2015

AFSC manipulated into unworthy role

CAPITOL HILL. Washington. Saturday, March 21, 2015— In an extraordinary development in the realm of social justice work, a religious faith-based organization has switched sides and lined up with companies fighting to oppose to Holy Land Principles— a corporate code of conduct for U.S. Companies doing business in Palestine-Israel.

AFSC — American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization— is releasing a so-called critique, “ Holy Land Principles: Lowering the Bar on Human Rights,” which attempts to sabotage the Holy Land Principles, and which shockingly calls for investors to join with Intel, GE and Corning in actually voting against shareholders Resolutions sponsored by Holy Land Principles, Inc.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus— President of the Capitol Hill-based Holy Land Principles, Inc. and the Irish National Caucus — said: “ This, granting the noble tradition of the Quakers, would be like the AFL-CIO trying to sabotage a workers’ strike for a just wage; like the Women’s Movement opposing equality for women; like Martin Luther King, Jr. supporting discrimination.”

Fr. Mc Manus pointed out that it’s one thing for AFSC to have reservations about the Holy Land Principles, but quite another to let themselves be co-opted by the companies, becoming in effect shills for them. The AFSC so-called critique bluntly and shamelessly shrieks: “… we recommend that shareholders do not vote in favor of the shareholder resolutions advocating the Holy Land Principles.”

Fr. Mc Manus who in 1984 launched the Mac Bride Principles, upon which the Holy Land Principles are based, explained: “ I have seen it all before with the Mac Bride campaign: governments and big business are adept at co-opting groups to splinter movements for social change. They tried that with the Mac Bride Principles— co-opting big Irish American Catholic names, Bishops and Church Leaders in both Ireland and the United States to oppose the Mac Bride Principles. What was different then is that no religious group ever actually joined with the companies to sabotage the Mac Bride Principles in the naked way AFSC has acted to sabotage the Holy Land Principles. This is quite shocking— a most dis-edifying spectacle that I fear will long haunt
AFSC. They have allowed their noble and splendid tradition to be hijacked.
I feel so sorry for them. It has caused them great harm but will not stop the Holy Land Principles.”

Fr. Mc Manus concluded by explaining: “ In February, the SEC ruled in favor of the Holy Land Principles, Inc. declaring that Intel, GE and Corning could not exclude the Holy Land Principles resolutions. How unseemly is it now for AFSC to allow itself to be used to try and undo the good work of the SEC. Instead of welcoming the SEC’s ruling, the AFSC now conspires against the decision, which was the first time a U.S. Government agency ever made such a ruling regarding American companies trying to avoid fair employment Principles in the Palestine-Israel. What is wrong with that picture?