US church divests pension fund from Israeli banks
Divestment due to financing "settlement activity"
The UMC, a Presbyterian denomination that numbers over seven million members, said it will not invest in the five banks for financing "settlement activity" over the 1949 Armistice lines.
Inside United Methodist Church, photo credit: Brian Moran.
The five banks to be boycotted by the church's pension board are:
- Bank Hapoalim,
- Bank Leumi,
- First International Bank of Israel,
- Israel Discount Bank and
- Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot.
The New York Times reports that the banks were among 39 companies from several countries that have been excluded from the pension board’s portfolio for not meeting its Human Rights Investment Policy guideline.
Colette Nies, a spokeswoman for the pension board, said that the guideline, approved by the board in 2014 and carried out last year, applied to 14 different regions around the world, including the Middle East.
The list also includes an Israeli construction concern, Shikun & Binui, which Palestinian advocates say is heavily involved in settlement building.
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