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Protest Inside and Outside Hewlett-Packard Shareholders' Meeting
"Stop HP", a coalition that includes members of the American Friends Service Committee and Jewish Voice for Peace, amongst others, introduced a proposal at the Hewlett Packard Shareholders' meeting in Santa Clara, California yesterday. That proposal, calling for an in-depth look at HP's dealings with the Israeli military, was defeated by a majority. However, speakers in favor of the proposal pushed the issue, forcing HP CEO Meg Whitman to acknowledge it; Whitman said that the company "will look into this." A member of Sabeel, a group working for justice and reconciliation in Palestine-Israel, demanded a meeting be held to discuss the coalition's concerns and the head of HP's current human rights commission agreed to a sit-down.
Outdoors in front of the Santa Clara Convention Center on March 19, dozens of protesters called out Hewlett-Packard for its business dealings with the Israeli military. They sang, "Biometric ID cards at checkpoints in the West Bank restrict the People's movement". They expressed to TV news reporters on hand that HP is complicit in oppressing Palestine because it makes the technology for the biometric cards that contain large amounts of data on the card carrier. The cards are used by Israel to segregate and discriminate against Palestinians.
At the same time the loud protest was going on in front of the Convention Center, members of the "Stop HP Coalition" inside the shareholders' meeting introduced a proposal calling for an in-depth look at HP's dealings with the Israeli military and its human rights abuses. Although the measure was defeated by 83%, speakers in favor of the proposal, including two Presbyterian (USA) ministers, pressed their case, forcing HP CEO Meg Whitman to acknowledge it; Whitman said that the company "will look into this."
Human rights activists who organized the day's events say the task ahead is to get HP to agree to keep their commitments to meet with the coalition and to "look into" the issues brought forward. The Coalition to Stop HP includes: The American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace: Bay Area, South Bay and Santa Cruz chapters, Global Exchange, UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine, Northern California Friends of Sabeel, and San Francisco Veterans for Peace.
Viveka Jagadeesan, Berkeley sophomore, is next up to interview with a local TV station. She said, “Hewlett-‐Packard provides services to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. These segregated communities are illegal under international law."