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Luxembourg pension fund boycotts major Israeli banks

Ma’an | February 25, 2014

BETHLEHEM – Luxembourg’s general pension fund has decided to boycott five major Israeli banks and a number of major Israeli investment companies over their involvement in supporting construction in illegal settlements in the West Bank, according to the Hebrew-language news site Walla.

In a report published Tuesday, Walla news highlighted that names of the Israeli banks and companies appeared on a list banned by the Fond De Compensation last updated on Nov. 15, 2013. The list, titled on the FDC website as “Exclusion List,” included 60 international banks and companies which FDC decided to boycott over human rights violations.

The Israeli banks and companies on the list are the Africa Israel Investment group identified by FDC as Real Estate, Management and Development group, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Elbit Systems, aerospace and defense group, Finmeccaneca, also aerospace and defense group, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, Jerusalem Economy LTD, the Real Estate, Management and Development Group and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank LTD.

It was explained on the list that the Israeli banks and organizations appeared because they support and finance construction of “illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Territories of the State of Palestine” and some provide security systems for the “illegal separation barrier on Occupied Territories of the State of Palestine.”

The Walla report highlighted that the direct impact of this boycott could be zero, but it is still worrying because it is a chain in an ongoing divestment process.

February 25, 2014 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

European pension funds increase Israel boycott pressure

MEMO | January 20, 2014

ABP, the world’s third-largest pension fund, said the fund might exclude the stocks ‘as a last resort’ if the Israeli banks fail to act

According to a report in The Financial Times today, three major European pension funds with a combined total of almost €500 billion of assets are “reviewing their holdings in Israeli banks over concerns that the banks finance illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian-occupied territories.”

The three investors are Dutch ABP, the world’s third-largest pension fund, Nordea Investment Management, and DNB Asset Management. In addition, Norwegian pension fund KLP has confirmed it will be examining “dilemmas linked to financing [of Israeli settlements].”

An ABP spokesperson said the fund might exclude the stocks “as a last resort” if the banks fail to act. Nordea, meanwhile, is expected to meet the Israeli banks in March and take a decision on a possible withdrawal of investment at a meeting in May.

As the FT highlights, “the reviews come after PGGM, the second-largest Dutch pension fund, two weeks ago became the first big investor to dump its holdings in five large Israeli banks : Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot.”

The news comes two days after Israeli television broadcast remarks by the government’s top negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who warned that a “crisis” in the peace process will see Israel hit by a “wave” of boycott pressure. Last week, Shas party chair Aryeh Deri urged financial assistance to business owners in the West Bank “hurt by international boycotts”.

January 20, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment