Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pension fund of American Methodist Church put Israeli banks on a blacklist

The pension fund of the American United Methodist Church declared the five largest Israeli banks off limits for investment and has divested from the two that it held in its portfolios, due to their deep involvement with financing illegal settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Sign on a wall in Bethlehem, (Photo AFP)
The fund, called the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, excluded Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, according to the pension board's website.
It is  a succes for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, It acknowledges the deep connections between Israeli banks and the settlement enterprise. In effect, it is an acknowledgment that responsibility for ongoing abuses of Palestinian rights does not stop at the Green Line.
The Church is sure to face intense backlash for this decision - especially given that in just 5 months, the Church will consider divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard at their General Conference.

Senior officials in Israel's Foreign Ministry said they are still examining the decision, but added that Israel will make quiet efforts to convince the leaders of the church to change or soften the measure ahead of the Methodist General Conference in May.
The United Methodist Church is a global institution, representing over 12 million people all over the world.

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