20 April 2017, AFOPA's "3 Things" Digest
THE BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS (BDS) CAMPAIGN
Continuing our close-up look at the 3 aspects of the Palestinian-led BDS campaign. This week we'll look at Divestments.
3 Divestment initiatives
- Church divestments
- Pension/Superannuation fund divestments
- Local councils choose divestment
- & ICYMI... UK high court rules in favour of local councils who support boycott of Israeli occupation.
View first instalment in this BDS series: Boycott initiatives >>
Churches divest from Israeli occupation in response to call from Palestinian Christians
In 2009 the Palestinian Christian movement issued their Kairos Palestine call, born from a similar vein as the 1985 call from South African theologians against Apartheid in South Africa. The Kairos Palestine document supported non-violent resistance to the illegal Israeli occupation and endorses the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli occupation. Since the Kairos Palestine call, various churches around the world have responded with similar resolutions - here's a sample:
- World Council of Churches (2009): "Reiterates the need for an international boycott of settlement products and services, for member churches to inform themselves about settlement products imported into their countries and for churches to practice morally responsible investment in order to influence businesses linked to the Israeli occupation and its illegal settlements."
- National Council of Churches in Australia (2010): "...in response to the requests in the Kairos document, calls on the member Churches... and the wider Australian community to consider a boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
- Churches in USA (2016): United Methodists; Presbyterian Church USA; Alliance of Baptists USA; Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men; Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz; Unitarian Universalist; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (2012).
- South Africa (2016): United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.
- Other church actions in 2015 >>
You, too, can make an impact: what is the position of your church or faith group?
Pension funds and Superannuation funds choose to divest
A growing number of state pension funds are divesting from Israeli companies and/or from multinational companies found to be operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories or complicit with Israeli occupation practices. European countries have led the way on this front, with various other countries following suit - here's a sample:
- Norway (2012): The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) divests from Israel's largest real estate firm.
- The Netherlands (2014): Dutch pension giant divests from Israeli banks.
- Luxembourg (2014): Luxembourg pension fund dumps 9 Israeli firms
- USA: TIAA-CREF divests from Veolia, SodaStream, Caterpillar.
- New Zealand (2012): NZ Super Fund divests from Israeli firms
And many more...
You, too, can make an impact: what international shares investment does your superannuation fund hold?
Local councils divest
With community pressure, many local councils and municipalities around the world have been asked to address their corporate social responsibility obligations in their communities. Local councils can achieve this in various ways: divesting their interests in complicit companies, or choosing to boycott Israeli settlement products, or reconsidering tenders from companies involved in human rights violations, or - in an innovative example from Spain - declaring themselves 'Apartheid Free Zones.' - here's a small sample:
- Spain: on 19 April 2017 Barcelona City Council joined dozens of other local councils in Spain in declaring themselves an 'Apartheid Free Zone'.
- USA: Portland divests from all corporations.
- Norway: Tromsø city council; Trondheim city council.
- Scotland: Clackmannanshire, West Dunbartonshire and Stirling Councils.
- Italy: Italian town councils oppose companies violating international law.
- Australia: Marrickville Council puts BDS on the map in Australia.
You, too, can make an impact: what's the policy of your local council on socially responsible investments and practices?
And in case you missed it...
"The High Court in the UK has dealt a blow to a pro-Israel group attempting to stifle local councils from taking action in solidarity with the Palestinian people and ruled in favour of three councils who passed resolutions in support of targeted boycotts of Israel’s occupation..."