New Zealand state pension fund divests from Israeli banks

Broad view of unfinished buildings against arid landscape

Houses under construction in the Israeli settlement of Eldad, south of Bethlehem, December 2019. Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank is a war crime. (Trocaire)

New Zealand’s $33 billion national pension fund has excluded five Israeli banks from its portfolio because of their role in financing Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An assessment by the NZ Super Fund concludes that holding shares in Israel’s biggest banks would violate its responsible investment policy.

The document cites New Zealand’s 2016 vote for UN Security Council resolution 2334 which reaffirms the illegality of the settlements, as well as statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he intends to proceed with large-scale annexations of occupied Palestinian land.

Israel’s construction of settlements is a war crime.

It is one of the matters currently before the International Criminal Court, whose judges last month cleared the way for a formal investigation of Israel’s actions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a 2018 report, Human Rights Watch documented the essential role Israeli banks play in building the colonies and perpetrating large-scale abuses of Palestinian human rights.

The excluded financial institutions are First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot.

All five now appear on the NZ Super Fund exclusion list.

They join other Israeli companies involved in violating Palestinian rights that were already excluded by the fund: arms makers Elbit Systems and Ashot and settlement construction firms Africa-Israel and Shikun & Binui.

The decision by the New Zealand fund indicates growing international momentum to hold Israeli corporations accountable for their role in Israeli war crimes.

Last summer ABP, the biggest Dutch pension fund and one of the world’s largest, stopped investing in two Israeli banks because of their role in settlement construction.

Activists in New Zealand are welcoming the decision by the independently managed national pension fund, but say both the fund and the country’s government must do more.

“The ethical decision by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to disinvest in Israeli banks should be followed by our government,” the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa stated on Tuesday.

“The fund still has investments in other Israeli companies, and the fund says it will be paying close attention to any future reports from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights about the culpability of other Israeli companies in illegal settlement construction,” PSNA spokesperson Janfrie Wakim noted.

Wakim observed that the NZ Super Fund excluded Israeli weapons maker Elbit in 2012, “Yet, the New Zealand government has admitted to buying military equipment, ground tested on Palestinians, from Elbit Systems.”




Am Windell Miller, from a tiny poor country called Liberia, on the West coast of Africa. Indeed, am registrant of a depraved earth scorched debilitating human menacing condition of life amongst integrated people of the Universe (Israel and Palestine), who both for almost over half a century had been stucked under the relics of their patriarchal sovereign existence. The wide open ended blood letting killing field that had since engulfed that part of the global community speaks soon of a civilized group of people, under the guise of the conspiracy of to the United Nations. The world is completely silent and suck up in this global pool of guilty, meandering a sleazy hybridized so called theorem of "Israel Right to Exist" which is TRUE but not in the broad day and night time lynching, slaughter, extermination and mass murder of the people of Palestine. For too long in Gaza Strait and most of its surroundings, Golan heights, Ramallah and Hebron had littered with innocent blood frequently against the Palestinians, more often than not unarmed... This grevious acts of savagery, banditry and thuggery MUST cease to exist and give life again to the hopeless in that segment of the global community. Israel had in the face of the rest of the world (America, China and Russia) unleashed blistering fire power from armour tanks, helicopter gunships and artilleries on the people of Palestine unjustifiably in the face of the rest of the world, guilty of passing Resolutions upon Resolutions and adopting Treaties upon Treaties; a damning devious conspiracy clout in the face of modernity. Am humbly appealing to the United States and the United Nations to quickened their resolve in helping to fast track a concerted driven effort of Mutual Territoriality and Peaceful Co existence under a well fettered package of a Twin States Solution brazen an opportunity for a more realistic approach in a unipolar world of our global fight on Climate Change; a deadly explosive almost unevenly managed..