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US funds could be forced to divest from Israel boycotters
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US funds could be forced to divest from Israel boycotters

Pension funds across the US could soon be forced to withdraw money from companies perceived to have boycotted Israel if a legislative initiative under way in the state of Illinois gains traction. 

Last month, Illinois became the first US state to pass a bill banning the state’s five pension funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel.

The bill is widely considered an attempt to undermine the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for investors to pull money from companies it believes are complicit in violating Palestinian rights.

Some BDS resolutions and activists advocate a blanket boycott of Israel; others only of companies and institutions linked to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which most of the outside world sees as illegal and an obstacle to peace.

While a growing number of European pension funds have blacklisted several Israeli companies due to their operations in the occupied Palestinian territories, it seems increasingly unlikely that their US counterparts will adopt a similar stance. 

In addition to the Illinois legislation, some members of the US Congress — where support for Israel is strong — are seeking to append anti-BDS provisions to a free-trade agreement with the EU now under negotiation.

Click here to read the full article in Financial Times

Monday, June 01, 2015
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