Monday, 10 December 2012

Irish National Caucus Launch Holy Land Principles

© Joe ÓNéill
Two old Mac Bride Campaigners Fr. Sean McManus and Joe ÓNéill.

The Washington DC based priest, Fr. Seán McManus, who launched the Mac Bride Principles Campaign has announced that he will launch The Holy Land Principles – a corporate code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Band, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).

'Isn’t it very striking? The elected officials who led the campaign to end anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland were not Irish- Americans, but Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Hispanic Americans and others! To me, that is the great moral lesson of the Mac Bride Campaign.'(Fr. Seán McManus)

The full text of the press release by the Irish National Caucus reads:
Holy Land Principles Launched
First MacBride … Now Holy Land
Capitol Hill. Monday, December 10, 2012 – The same man who launched the MacBride Principles on November 5, 1984 has now launched the Holy Land Principles – a corporate code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Bank, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).
Fr. Sean McManus – president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, and of the recently formed Holy Land Principles, Inc. – said: “The MacBride Principles campaign is considered the most effective campaign ever against anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. And similarly, I am hoping that the Holy Land Principles will persuade American companies to adhere to fair employment in the Holy Land. If Catholics in Northern Ireland deserve these Principles, who is going to claim Palestinian Muslims and Christians do not?”
Fr. McManus, who has recently returned from the Holy Land, said: “American principles must follow American investment – everywhere. No exceptions! Irrespective of how Americans view the problem there, one thing is surely right: American investment dollars should not subsidize anti-Palestinian discrimination in The Holy Land. And, therefore, I am confident that Americans will want all the 573 companies doing business there to sign the Holy Land Principles.” [ SEE PRINCIPLES BELOW].
 Like the MacBride Principles, the Holy Land Principles do not call for disinvestment, divestment or reverse discrimination.
Holy Land Principles, Inc., has been established as a non-profit organization to promote the Principles.
It will be of interest to see if potential opponents of the Holy Land Principles will make the same misjudgement as the British Government admitted to making in 1999. A senior official in the Department of Economic Development (DED) said: “We did not take him [Fr. McManus] very seriously at first but the MacBride Principles have caused serious problems and cost millions to try and counteract.”
To further promote the new Principles, Fr. McManus has brought out a new edition of his Memoirs: My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland ... And The Holy Land. In the book, which now has 424 pages, he draws a close parallel between how the British Government partitioned both Ireland and Palestine.
 Fr. McManus mapped out the plan of campaign: 
“The basic strategy of the campaign is to persuade all the 573 U.S. companies in The Holy Land to sign the Principles. They sign by agreeing in writing ‘to make all lawful efforts to implement the Fair Employment Practices embodied in the Holy Land Principles in their operations in The Holy Land’ – the very same language used by companies signing the MacBride Principles.
1. The campaign will be conducted through Shareholders’ Resolutions and through public education.
2. This book with a personalized letter will be sent to the CEOs of all 573 companies, plus their Investor Relations Contact.
3. This book with a personalized letter will be sent to all Members of Congress, House and Senate, and all key media personnel.
 4. An extensive Direct Mail campaign will be conducted to prospective supporters – Irish-Americans, Arab-Americans and the faith and social-justice communities.” 
Holy Land Principles
American principles following American investment 
A Corporate Code of Conduct for U.S. Companies in The Holy Land

American companies have a responsibility to maximize the profits of their shareholders.  And shareholders have the right and responsibility to insist that their profits are earned through ethical corporate practices – that they avoid discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious identity.
 Moreover, ethical investment not only benefits society but also creates stronger and more sustainable profits for their shareholders.
In the tradition of the Sullivan Principles (South Africa) and the MacBride Principles (Northern Ireland), the Holy Land Principles seek to ensure that American dollars do not support discrimination, human rights abuses, or violations of international law in The Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Bank, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).
The Principles do not call for disinvestment, divestment or reverse discrimination.
Responsible corporate conduct is especially urgent today because of the deprivations and sufferings caused by the conflict.
 By endorsing the Holy Land Principles, corporations will enhance America’s security as people in the Middle East see that American companies support equality and fairness for all.
The Holy Land Principles call on American companies conducting business in The Holy Land to:
 1. Adhere to equal and fair employment practices in hiring, compensation, training, professional education, advancement and governance without discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious identity.
2. Identify underrepresented employee groups and initiate active recruitment efforts to increase the number of underrepresented employees to a level proportional to their representation in society.
 3. Make every reasonable effort to ensure that all employees have the ability to easily, openly and equally travel to and access corporate facilities.
4. Maintain a work environment that is respectful of all racial, ethnic and religious groups.
 5. Work with governmental and community authorities, and support local initiatives to eliminate disparities among racial, ethnic and religious groups in government spending on education, training, access to health care and housing.
6. Not make military service a precondition or qualification for employment for any position, other than those positions that specifically require such experience, for the fulfilment of an employee’s particular responsibilities.
 7. Not accept subsidies, tax incentives or other benefits that lead to the direct advantage of one racial, ethnic or religious group over another.
8. Appoint staff to monitor, oversee, set timetables, and publicly report on their progress in implementing the Holy Land Principles.

Holy Land Principles, Inc.
Capitol Hill • P.O. Box 15128  •  Washington, DC 20003-0849 
Phone: 202-488-0107  •  Fax: 202-488-7537

Irish National Caucus 
P.O. BOX 15128 
Capitol Hill 
Washington, DC 20003-0849 
Tel. 202-544-0568 
Fax. 202-488-7537

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