Palestinian students call boycott of Barclays
A Palestinian campaign group has called on people to boycott Barclays over its investments in Elbit Systems, a major Israeli military company and drone manufacturer.
The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI), a group of Palestinian students in Gaza, said in a statement:
"As Palestinians we suffer immeasurably from drone attacks.In 2012 and 2013, drones have killed more of us in Gaza than any other aircraft. "
Despite Elbit drones being used to commit war crimes in Gaza, Barclays Bank is currently listed as the owner of 50,217 shares in Elbit worth more than $3m.
Barclays has tried to absolve itself of any responsibility by saying its shares in Elbit are held on behalf of clients and to “hedge exposure”. Yet Barclays is profiting from holding shares in Elbit on behalf of its clients and the practise of “hedging” is a form of financial investment.
"Since Barclays refuse to end this unethical practice investing and dealing in shares in Elbit despite the fact that their drones kill us, our children, our parents, our brothers, sisters and friends, we ask for students to close their student Barclays account and tell Barclays why."
According to Corporate Watch's Ayah Bashir, a Gaza-based Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions activist: “during the latest Israeli massacre in Gaza, we knew of the ground invasion even before the formal announcement. We heard the sounds of the drones getting louder in a crazy way, as if they were on steroids. They were in such incredibly large numbers that we used to joke saying that Israel is ordering one drone for each person in Gaza.”
During the South African apartheid era, Barclays owned a South African subsidiary bank that made loans to the apartheid government and purchased millions in South African defence bonds. In solidarity with those being oppressed, British students closed their Barclays student accounts and encouraged others to do so. This caused Barclays share of the student market to drop from 27% to 15%. Encouraged by the students’ action, local councils, teachers associations and charities followed suit until Barclays permanently closed its South African subsidiary, having lost millions of pounds in closed bank accounts.
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