Do you have an opinion? Your letters 7-23
Sunday, December 7, 2008

Morality over economics

Dear TNCP,

I find it unconscionable that Governor Granholm would consider encouraging companies from Israel to invest in Michigan.

Israel is about the size of Baghdad and a little smaller than New York City, yet it receives one-third of all US foreign aid. Yes, our tax dollars.  It has the sixth most destructive military in the world and has nuclear weapons.  It has defied hundreds of UN resolutions going back to 1948.  It is reeking death and destruction on the people of Palestine with US made weapons.  

Most of the people of Israel abhor what their government is doing.  Michigan can help them in their quest and set an example for human rights.  The South African government stopped their repression only after the international community used the financial power of divestment and other economic tools.  Michigan needs to do the same with Israel.

Economic times are tough in Michigan, but we need to put our morality above our wallets and find better investors.

Arnold Stieber
Grass Lake, MI

Editor’s note:  Mr. Stieber’s remarks were in response to the article below.  He picks up his paper in Jackson, MI.

Granholm Begins Middle East Investment Mission, Signs Joint Declaration of Strategic Cooperation with Israel
Governor also meets with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, business leaders
LANSING, MI – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today joined Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yshai in signing a joint declaration of strategic cooperation, a partnership between the state of Israel and the state of Michigan, to explore development in the growing sectors of renewable energy and water technologies.  Michigan is the first U.S. state to sign a water technologies partnership agreement with Israel.
“This partnership with Israel will strengthen our ability to collaborate with a country on the cutting-edge of water and renewable energy technologies,” Granholm said.  “We are aggressively targeting companies in the automotive, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and alternative energy industries to bring new jobs to Michigan and diversify our state’s economy.”
The joint declaration establishes a working group between the two states to focus on energy efficiency and innovative technology that will improve water quality and increase water re-use.
“As one-fifth of the Earth’s freshwater supply, the Great Lakes are a world-class natural resource and an essential part of our economic transformation,” said Lieutenant Governor John D. Cherry, Jr., immediate past chairman of the Great Lakes Commission.  “Partnering with Israel on technologies to protect and preserve our water will help not only to ensure that we are good stewards of this resource but will also help to create jobs here in Michigan.”
Granholm began her day by meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss her economic plan for Michigan and to provide an overview of her investment mission.
The governor, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) President and CEO James C. Epolito, and other members of her delegation are in Israel and Jordan this week to meet with company executives looking to expand their presence in the United States or that are ripe for international investment.
“We are stepping up our efforts across the globe to show CEOs and business leaders that Michigan is a perfect fit for any company – large or small, traditional or high-tech,” Epolito said.  “I’m confident that this mission will bring not only new investment and jobs to Michigan, it will lay the groundwork for future growth.”
On Sunday, Granholm and Epolito were the keynote speakers at an automotive reception hosted by the Michigan Israel Business Bridge and the Israel Export Institute, with Israeli automotive suppliers and technology companies including those in renewable energy, to discuss possibilities for expansion and collaboration in Michigan. During her speech, Granholm noted that, though the crowd knew Michigan as the center of the global auto industry, Michigan also is emerging as a leader in the fields of life sciences and medical devices, security and defense, alternative energy, and advanced manufacturing.  Granholm went on to point out that Michigan is second only to California in industrial research and development expenditures and offers the fourth-largest high-tech workforce in America.
Granholm and Epolito also met Sunday with the executives of Allegan, Michigan-based Perrigo’s Israeli operations.  Perrigo is the world’s largest manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and nutritional products.  They also met with Inspire Invest, a venture capital company whose portfolio includes Michigan defense firm Burtek Inc. and Project Better Place, a company developing a country-wide infrastructure for electric cars.


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