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May 16, 2005 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-05-16

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Opinion 4 'U' should cut Coke I 4
contracts immediately
Sports 11 Softball goes 2-for-2, Monday, May 16, 2005
wins Big Ten tourney w :43 Summer Weekly
One-hundred- ourteen ears o editorial reedom
www.michigandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan m Vol. CXV, No. 126 @2005 The Michigan Daily

Evidence
supports
Coca-Cola
allegatios
By Christopher Zbrozek
For the Daily
The University committee currently investigat
ing alleged human rights abuses by the Coca-Cola
Company has found credible evidence to suppor
two allegations of human rights abuses, accord
ing to University spokeswoman Julie Peterson. I
does not appear, however, that the committee wil
recommend the University cut its contract wit]
Coca-Cola that expires in June.
The University's Dispute Review Board, whic]
began its investigation of Coca-Cola following
a recommendation from University Purchasing
Services on March 8, spent over four hours las
Monday at a meeting held in the Fleming Admin
istration Building deliberating final recommen
dation regarding the University's contract with
Coca-Cola. The meeting was closed to the public
and the press.
The DRB has found evidence to support tw
of the four allegations of human rights and envi
ronmental infractions it was charged with inves-
tigating.
Peterson wrote in an e-mail message that th
DRB currently believes there is credible evidenc
in support of allegations of pesticides in the prod
uct in India and concerns over labor practices i
Colombia.
Although the DRB has not yet released its fina
statement, it appears unlikely it will recommen
that the University halt renewal c its contrac
with Coca-Cola that expires in June.
According to an e-mail sent to the Unitec
Asian American Organizations mailing list th
DRB decided to renew the contract with Coca
Cola through September.
After September, the contract would b
renewed on a month-by-month basis, provide
that Coca-Cola shows it has improved its huma
rights record. According to the e-mail, the crite
ria for evaluating Coca-Cola after September ar
still under debate.
DRB chair Frank Stafford acknowledged tha
the ideas in the e-mail had been discussed at th
meeting. He denied, however, that a final vote ha
h been taken on the plan outlined in the email, not
ing that it "may not be a workable mechanism."
"I think the general direction here is clea
We'll have to see changes in the way Coke run
its operations," Stafford said. The DRB has nt
yet finished determining the specific details o
its recommendation concerning Coca-Cola.
"We have to figure out a timeline on whic
we can expect to see milestones of progress t
see them continue as a vendor in good standing,
Stafford said. Failure to show progress on Coca
Cola's part could lead to the loss of its busines
See COKE, Page 8

U

{ k _

ALEX DZIADOSZ/Daily
A protester who did not want to be named chants as other protesters gather outside the Jewish Community Center to protest Israeli
policy. See story on page 3.
Celebration encounters protests

- By Laura Van Hyfte
n Daily News Editor
1 Pro-Palestinan protestors rallied last Sunday
d outside Ann Arbor's Jewish Community Center
t during an event commemorating May 14, 1948,
the day Israel gained statehood and defended
d itself against an attack by six Arab nations.
e Members of the emerging Pro-Palestine orga-
- nization, Defend Palestine, voiced their dissat-
isfaction with Israel's alleged mistreatment of
e Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
d Though the protest drew only about a dozen
n participants, their presence evoked strong
- reactions from members of the Jewish com-
e munity. Thought the protest drew only about
a dozen participants, their presence evoked
t strong reactions from members of the Jewish
e community.
d Members of the Jewish community encoun-
- tered signs with phrases like "Zionism is Rac-
ism," as they entered the JCC parking lot.
r. Monica Woll, the chair of the governing
s board of the University's Hillel chapter, said
I in response to a protestor's sign: "Zionism is
f the belief that Jews have a right to a homeland
- that is no way racist," Woll said. "To make a
h blanket statement like that is absurd."
o Jeff Levin, executive director of the Jewish
Federation of Washtenaw County, stressed that
- the JCC's event was not politically motivated.
s "This isn't a political rally," Levin said. "In
8 the same way that Americans of all political
stripes can celebrate the Fourth of July, Jews of

all political stripes celebrate Israel's indepen-
dence and her accomplishments of the last 50
years."
Levin also said similar protests have been
occurring in front of the Beth Israel Congrega-
tion, located on Washtenaw Avenue, for the past
20 months.
Toma Livshiz, a participant in the celebration
and an incoming University freshman, said that
though she supports everyone's right to voice
his opinion, protests in front of the synagogue
are unethical. It is disrespectful to protest an
area of worship where people are trying to pray,
she said.
Etta King, a senior at Pioneer High School
who plans to go to Israel next year, also said
that she did not agree with the protestors' style
of expressing their dissatisfaction.
"Protestors come and protest every Saturday
in front of the (Beth) synagogue," King said. "I
think everyone is entitled to their own opinion
- even if I don't agree with it. I just don't agree
with how they go about it. It really bothers me
when they come to my synagogue when I'm
trying to pray."
Present at the protest, Henry Herskovitz,
the spokesman for Jewish Witnesses for Peace,
explained why protesting has continued for the
last 20 months outside the synagogue.
"The flag of Israel hangs inside of the syna-
gogue," Herskovitz said. In addition to being
places of worship, synagogues are a place of
political support for Israel, Herskovitz said.
Woll said she did not agree with protests in

front of the Beth synagogue.
"There's a time and a place for these protes-
tors," Woll said. "By hanging the flag in the
synagogue, the synagogues are showing that
they stand behind Israel, because Israel is the
Jewish homeland."
Laurel Federbush, a protester and University
alumnus, said that the University does not fairly
recognize the issue and avoids talking about
anything that is critical of Israel.
She spoke at a meeting of the Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly held two months ago, when a
proposal was brought before MSA to urge the
University to form a committee to investigate
the University's investments in military compa-
nies that support the Israeli occupation of the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Federbush was
one of many activists who accused the Israeli
government of human rights violations.
Herskovitz echoed Federbush's sentiments,
saying that students must realize the impor-
tance of universally protecting human rights.
Livshiz also recognized that students might
have power to impact the University's dealing
with Israel. While there are two sharply distinct
views of the current situation, both sides agreed
that peace was the ultimate goal for the region.
"We hope that next year the Palestinians can
celebrate their own independence," Levin said.
Marcia Federbush, another protestor, also
said she yearned for peace.
"I don't see a reason why coexisting is
impossible. We just need to get there," Feder-
bush said.

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