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Dutch pension giant ditches Israeli banks over involvement with settlements

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Major Israeli financial institutions woke up to the news today that a Dutch pension fund has pulled out its investments because of the banks’ involvement in the occupied West Bank.  The move, first reported by Haaretz‘s Barak Ravid, means that tens of millions of euros from the fund would be pulled out from five Israeli banks: Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, Israel Discount Bank and the First International Bank of Israel.

The pension fund that made the announcement is PGGM, one of the biggest in the world. The banks affected have either branches in illegal settlements or finance the settlements’ construction.

A branch of Bank Hapoalim in Ashkelon, Israel. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

A branch of Bank Hapoalim in Ashkelon, Israel. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

In a statement, PGGM explained that the decision to divest came after engagement with the banks made clear they would not halt activities in the occupied territories.  “For several years PGGM has been in dialogue with these banks,” the statement said. “The reason for this engagement was their involvement in financing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. This was a concern, as the settlements in the Palestinian territories are considered illegal under international humanitarian law.”

PGGM cites the International Court of Justice’s 2004 advisory opinion that West Bank settlements are in violation of the Geneva Convention.

PGGM’s “engagement” elicited responses from Israeli banks, who said that “Israeli law doesn’t allow them to cease providing service to entities connected to the settlements,” according to Haaretz.

Israeli banks are an integral part of the West Bank settlement project.  The Electronic Intifada’s Asa Winstanley explains:

Israeli banks have been a BDS target for some time.

In the 2011 book that I edited with Frank Barat, Mirav Amir of Who Profits showed that “There is solid evidence of the involvement of most of the major Israeli commercial banks” in a long list of financial services to settlements. These include “special loans” made with the explicit purpose of encouraging Israeli colonization of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Indeed, Amir said, “most Israeli banks” have branches open in settlements.

In 2010, the Israeli group Who Profits released a report on Israeli banks’ involvement in the occupation.

In its statement, PGGM added that it “continues its dialogue with a small number of other companies on the same issue and will report on progress through its regular reporting.”  That could mean more divestment announcements in the future.

The Dutch pension giant’s move comes a month after a Dutch water company suspended its cooperation with Israel’s national water company because of the latter’s involvement in the occupied territories.  The Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement applauded that suspension in a statement.  And in September, a Dutch engineering company withdrew its involvement in a sewage treatment plan because it was going to be built in occupied East Jerusalem.  The Dutch government has advised businesses in its country to avoid dealing with the occupation and settlements.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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136 Responses

  1. Tzombo
    January 8, 2014, 12:53 pm

    I’ll say it again: the Netherlands is one of the most pro-Israeli countries in the EU (one of two that were hit by the Arab oil boycott in 1973, the other one was Portugal under its rightwing junta). It is a pretty clear indication that BDS is not going to be stopped by Israeli and zionist European bullying. Water company Vitens was bombarded with hissy fits and hyperbole from the local rightwing media, but it didn’t stop them from announcing and then confirming they were most definitely going to do the right thing.

    • annie
      January 8, 2014, 1:55 pm

      the Netherlands is one of the most pro-Israeli countries in the EU

      that may be true, but they have a very informed citizenry.

      remember last year when Unilever, the third-largest consumer goods company in the world (in 2011, not sure about now) shut down their settlement factory. they claimed the move is a result of “pure business motives‘.

      • Dutch
        January 8, 2014, 2:44 pm

        “That may be true, but they have a very informed citizenry.”

        Well, we should be glad that we have very outspoken business leaders, such as Burgmans and Polman (both Unilever). Vitens and PGGM proved that Unilever is not alone. These cases are the best proof that the protests against the occupation are becoming mainstream. The Israeli narrative has (finally) died.

      • Kathleen
        January 8, 2014, 9:34 pm

        great points

      • ziusudra
        January 8, 2014, 10:36 pm

        Greetings Dutch,
        …..The Israeli narrative has(finally) died. ….
        Please add, perpetual hyperbolic monologue.
        Happy New Year.
        PS It doth warm me hart, for sooth!
        Even big Money is becoming jittery about its Investments.

      • seafoid
        January 9, 2014, 5:52 am

        The narrative is no more but it’s their own fault. They should never have yielded at Madrid in 91 if they wanted to avoid what is happening today.
        They signed up for a Palestinian state and they broadcast it to the world. Peres won a Nobel for his “peacemaking” and now people see it was all bullshit.

        When the bots say they are held to a higher standard than other cruel bastards they forget that they pledged a Palestinian state to the world.

      • Tzombo
        January 8, 2014, 3:49 pm

        The population as a whole is not more pro-Israeli than elsewhere I suppose, but there are some very fanatic zionists. For one the CIDI, the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel. We have a small but steady segment of the population which is evangelical and very much blindly pro-Israel, which also has its own political parties, the SGP (3 seats out of 150 total) and the CU (5 seats), which are small but can be important in a parliamentary system where parties have to form coalitions. There is literally nothing Israel could do that these parties would disapprove of, especially the SGP. Plus there’s Geert Wilders’ PVV (15 seats), which hates everything Muslim and therefore loves Israel. The same is true to a lesser extent for the more mainstream rightwing VVD.

    • AbigailOK
      January 8, 2014, 3:09 pm

      This evening , January 8, 2014, it was on the Dutch news that the Israeli government has sent letters to the shareholders of Vitens to put pressure on the board to have a change of mind or rather to go on with the plans vis-a-vis the Mekorot deal. Unfortunately, it did not speak of settlers getting all the water and Palestinians next to nothing to the point of having to buy water which they often cannot afford. There was where the item on PCGM was concerned only an interview with the Israeli minister of foreign affairs who had the arrogance (what else is new if you get away with murder every time thanks to the US mainly) to state that Vitens was ill-guided and he said it had been and anti-Israeli decision. When does a minister of foreign affairs meddle in business affairs? He doesn’t seem to realize how ridiculous and fishy this looks and sounds. Another comment from the Israeli side was that inside the Netherlands would be a growing anti-Israel attitude which is ludicrous. He fell short of mentioning the A-word. Waste of my and the viewers’s time thus. The decision as to why PCGM withdrew was concisely outlined though. All in all to my surprise quite unbiased whereas in the Dutch media there is still scant recognition or reporting on the daily reality on the grounds inside the Occupied Territories. No mention of the daily terror attacks by Jewish settlers. No accounts of the hundreds of thousands of olive trees willfully destroyed since 1967 by settlers, border police and IDF nor that the attacks are supported or ignored by the two latter forces. No mention of raw sewage destroying Palestinian crops and farmland. No mention of designating Palestinian land as military zone all of a sudden as e.g. in Qusra recently. I agree with Tzombo that the Netherlands is pro-Israeli. Politically as well as the public the latter however also due to ignorance or misinformation.

      • Dutch
        January 8, 2014, 5:22 pm

        Here’s the spokesman of Israeli Foreign Affairs (Palmor) on the Dutch news (video on the right). Above the video are three letters, all directed to the shareholders of Vitens: one by the mayor of Ramallah, one by the Israeli Embassy, and one by the Vitens management (Dutch).

      • seafoid
        January 9, 2014, 2:18 am

        Thanks for the link, Dutch. The Kerry fiasco was probably the last straw. The bots are just not interested. They don’t even bother turning up now. For years they palmed off people with the line that they wanted peace with the Palestinians and 2 states but the charade is over.

        The report mentioned the years PGGM spent talking to the Israeli banks but they are so convinced they have won that they can’t pull out of YESHA. I guess the heads who run Bank Leumi etc are as indoctrinated as the people in charge of the IDF.

        In reality Israel can’t do anything now.
        Palmor was such a joke BTW.

      • Sumud
        January 9, 2014, 6:14 am

        Palmor was such a joke BTW.

        The professional liar looks like he’s been crying. Probably had a tantrum that no-one believes his hasbara any more.

      • seafoid
        January 10, 2014, 4:38 pm
      • seafoid
        January 10, 2014, 5:12 pm

        This is possibly Regev’s finest TV moment

        Closely followed by this

        What a turd

      • annie
        January 9, 2014, 5:21 pm

        whoa, that letter from musa hadid, mayor of ramallah kicks a**

    • seafoid
      January 8, 2014, 3:36 pm

      Losing the Dutch is pretty serious. They sent a lot of their own Jews to their deaths in WW2 and they have a lot of guilt over this that historically has been translated into support for Zionism. But the Dutch are Calvinist and they are not afraid to say what they think and happy days may be over in Hollands for the bots. Not before time, I might add.

      • AbigailOK
        January 8, 2014, 5:04 pm

        @seafoid I don’t agree that the Dutch of which the majority is Dutch reformed thus calvinistic (was, rather, due to secularization and no doubt because calvinism here was also like Roman-Catholicism such that sometimes the elderlings of the church would come at their houses to tell them what they had done wrong and how to behave from then on, quite oppressive and suffocating, not very spiritual.)
        Dutch people, also in the educational system are not taught nor educated even today to speak their mind freely in the open and give one’s opinion other than the wisdom of the majority, herd thinking, I cal it. And most are not eloquent even in street interviews. And yes, 80 % of the Jews were deported to their deaths which is, after Polish Jews, the pro rato highest rate per country. You are well informed. Does the Dutch population know that? Mostly, not.
        To be pro-Israeli in politics has and had as basis in my opinion: business interests, a.o. war-industry. I cannot imagine that learned and informed people in the political sphere in the Netherlands have not known of the original sins by which the state of Israel came into existence. Politics and guilt feelings don’t normally go hand in hand.

      • seafoid
        January 10, 2014, 5:13 pm

        It doesn’t matter if a majority of the people is secular. The Calvinist memes go deep.

      • puppies
        January 8, 2014, 6:18 pm

        “They sent a lot of their own Jews to their deaths…”
        Some crust you got! Being invaded and occupied by the Nazi armies was not enough; having offered refuge to every oppressed people since before the times of Isabella was not enough; they also had to be accused of genocide by some clueless people.

        “But the Dutch are Calvinist” – couldn’t even check that, could you? They are seriously secular in their large majority. Nothing to do with Saudi Arabia or the States.

      • seafoid
        January 10, 2014, 5:18 pm


        The Apeldoorn Mental Hospital tragedy didn’t happen in a vacuum . Why was the % of French Jews murdered so much less? Over 56000 Dutch Jews were sent to Auschwitz and this must be linked to the historic postwar support for Israel.
        “Dr Jacob Presser recounts the terrible scenes:

        They were escorted into the lorries with pushes and blows, men, women and children, most of them inadequately clad for the cold winter night. As one eyewitness later recalled;

        “I saw them place a row of patients, many of them older women on mattresses at the bottom of one lorry, and then load another load of human bodies on top of them. So crammed were these lorries that the Germans had a hard job to put up the tailboards.”

        Aus der funten letter on Jewish emigration

        From the very start, the patients were thrown together indiscriminately, children with dangerous lunatics, imbeciles with those who were not fit to be moved. The lorries sped to the station, the station-master at Apeldoorn who stood by the train throughout, provided more eyewitness particulars. At first everything went smoothly.

        The earliest arrivals, mainly young men, went quietly into the freight wagons at the front of the train, forty in each, when the station-master opened the ventilators, the Germans immediately closed them again.

        At first, men and women were put into separate freight cars, but later they were all mixed together. As the night wore on, the more seriously ill were brought into the station. Some wore straight-jackets and they entered the wagons and then lent helplessly against the wall of the wagons.

        The report mentions the harrowing case of a young girl in a straight-jacket:

        “I remember the case of a girl of twenty to twenty-five, whose arms were pinioned in this way, but who otherwise was stark naked. When I remarked on this to the guards, they told me this patient had refused to put on clothes, so what could they do but take her along as she was.

        Blinded by the light that was flashed in her face, the girl ran, fell on her face and could not, of course, use her arms to break the fall. She crashed down with a thud, but luckily escaped without serious injury. In no time she was up again and unconcernedly entered the wagon.”

        Jewish staff at Apeldoornse Bos

        In general, the station master stated, “the loading was done without great violence. The ghastly thing was that when the wagons had to be closed, the patients refused to take their fingers away. They simply would not listen to us and in the end the Germans lost patience. The result was a brutal and inhuman spectacle.”

        Early the next morning Hauptsturmfuhrer Ferdinand Aus der Funten who directed Eichmann’s branch office in Amsterdam, responsible for the deportations of Jews from Holland, called for volunteers among the nurses to accompany the train.

        Some twenty came forward, Aus der Funten selected another thirty, the “volunteers” travelled in a separate wagon, at the back of the train. All of the nurses were offered the choice of returning home immediately after the journey, or working in a really modern mental home.

        The transport reached the Auschwitz-Birkenau on the 24 January 1943, with 921 Jewish patients, including children and medical personnel. After a selection 16 men and 36 women were admitted into the camp, the remaining 869 people are murdered in the gas chambers.

        Rudolf Vrba, a prisoner, who later escaped from Birkenau, recalled this particular transport:

        Rudolf Vrba

        “In some of the trucks nearly half the occupants were dead or dying, more than I have ever seen. Many obviously had been dead for several days, for the bodies were decomposing and the stench of disintegrating flesh gushed from the open doors.

        This, however, was no novelty to me. What appalled me was the state of the living. Some were drooling, imbecile, live people with dead minds. Some were raving, tearing at their neighbours, even at their own flesh.

        Some were naked, though the cold was petrifying; and above everything, above the moans of the dying or the despairing, the cries of pain, of fear, the sound of wild, frightening, lunatic laughter rose and fell.

        Yet amidst all this bedlam, there was one spark of splendid, unselfish sanity. Moving among the insane were nurses, young girls, their uniforms torn and grimy, but their faces calm and their hands never idle. Their medicine bags were still over their shoulders and they had to fight to keep their feet, but all the time they were working, soothing, bandaging, giving an injection here, an aspirin there.

        Not one showed the slightest trace of panic.” “Get them out!” roared the SS-men, “Get them out, you bastards.”

        “Tight Chair” from Apeldoornse Bos

        A naked girl about twenty with red hair and a superb figure suddenly leaped from a wagon and lay squirming, laughing at my feet. A nurse flung me a heavy Dutch blanket and I tried to put it round her, but she would not get up. With another prisoner, a Slovak called Fogel, I managed to roll her into the blanket.

        “Get them to the lorries!” roared the SS. “Straight to the lorries! Get on with it for Christ’s sake!”

        Somehow Fogel and I broke into a lumbering run, for this beautiful girl was heavy. The motion pleased her and she began clapping her hands like a child. An SS club slashed across my shoulders and the blanket slipped from my numbed fingers.

        “Get on you swine! Drag her.”

        I joined Fogel at the other end of the blanket and we dragged her, bumping her over the frozen earth for five hundred yards. Somehow she clung to the blanket, not laughing now, but crying, as the hard ground thumped her naked flesh through the thick wool.

        “Pitch her in! Get her on the lorries!”

        The SS men were frantic for here was something they could not understand. Something that knew no order, no discipline, no obedience, no fear of violence or death.

        We pitched her in somehow, then ran back for another crazy, pathetic bundle. Hundreds of them were out of the wagons now, herded by the prisoners who were herded by the SS, and everywhere the nurses, still working.

        Jewish Nurses from Apeldoornse Bos murdered at Auschwitz/Birkenau

        One nurse walked slowly with an old, frail man, talking to him quietly, as if they were out in the hospital grounds. Another half-carried a screaming girl. They fought to bring order out of chaos, using medicines and blankets, gentleness and quiet heroism, instead of guns or sticks or snarling dogs.

        Then suddenly it was all over. The last abject victims had been slung into one of the overloaded lorries. We stood there, painting in the chill January air.”

        Rudolf Vrba confirmed the fate of the nurses:

        The nurses were not allowed to return home, or work in a modern mental hospital, because the SS doctor making the selection decided the nurses would share the same fate as their patients.

        The nurses were loaded onto the lorries and roared off, swaying towards the gas chambers, not a single nurse or patient survived. “

      • puppies
        January 10, 2014, 7:16 pm

        So what? Do you understand the phrase “Nazi occupation”? Once more: Holland was under an extremely brutal German occupation; the population resisted as best they could and paid with high sacrifices. Not only the Jews.
        There was no need for all that long piece of tragedy lit: On this site, everyone is familiar with Nazi atrocities and many of us were born early enough to have a fair idea. Is it there as a reminder of what to expect in Palestine if it remains in the way of Zionist aims? Or are you peddling genocide victimitude?

      • Dutch
        January 11, 2014, 12:40 pm

        @ puppies

        WWII is a shameful history for the Netherlands. Sure, there were people that stood up. But most didn’t. I guess the Netherlands were just like any other country, full of heroes, full of cowards.

        This hasn’t gotten any better. When our government joined the Iraq War, where were the people to stop this insane action? Most of them found it ‘terrebly complicated’, and moved on with their lives. In Iraq over a million innocent people were killed. Our signature is on their death act. Terrebly complicated, indeed.

        And as Israels crimial actions continue, we’re on the wrong side again, for decades.

      • Citizen
        January 11, 2014, 1:59 pm

        @ Dutch
        Like occupied France, occupied Holland’s people mostly just went along with the occupier so long as it did not directly negatively involve their own families, but as soon as the Normandy landing spelled the future, they commenced fighting the occupiers. Average people are average people, all over the world, then and now. They don’t buck the system significantly until they see that the systems is changing, and they then join the new bandwagon. The top priority for most humans is always to put bread on the table for those closest to them. The historical lesson is that nothing significant will change in the status quo regarding I-P until these average people, in this case in the enabling nation, USA, see something clearly indicating it’s not good for them to continue the status quo. The question is, is what happened to the thrust for war on Syria a premonition of what will happen re a war on Iran?

        All the knife mouths are out, stabbing to and fro; the issue of Israel First v USA first in heavily beckoning.

        My guess is if Obama succeeds in cementing diplomacy with Iran, Americans will gain, AIPAC will lose, and if he does not, thanks to AIPAC, WW3 will ensue, and in its sketchy progression and aftermath, Israel will be the biggest loser, and with it, any trust the average American has in their fellow Jewish American citizens. I can conceive of a leftover Iran, and a leftover USA in a nuclear war, but I can’t imagine a leftover Israel. Can you?

      • puppies
        January 11, 2014, 3:59 pm

        You really have some nerve, comparing the US murderous behavior (including and thanks to its own people, I agree with that, or that of the Herrenrasse Israelian occupiers, etc.) to the life of the peoples hit by the Nazi invasion in WW2, or passing judgment on the earnest of the Resistance. They weren’t resisting less than the Palestinians, thank you. The only excuse you could invoke for yourself is cluelessness.

      • lobewyper
        January 8, 2014, 10:30 pm

        This is fantastic! PGGM citing the opinion of international humanitarian law that the settlements are illegal. (Here I had always thought that the WB had been given to Israel by God!) Finally, a major player sets the correct example for (hopefully) many others to follow.

      • MHughes976
        January 10, 2014, 11:46 am

        The Dutch Catholic bishops did make an open protest against the deportations of Jews.

      • Ellen
        January 10, 2014, 12:01 pm

        @MHughes978 and shortly after and in retribution, Dutch priests were promptly shipped along with the Priests right across the border in Aachen, Germany to the “Priester” blocks in Dachau.

        And since we are on this subject, not to forget the Dutch Priest, TItus Brandsma who was also named a saint a Saint in 1985. He died along with others of his order in Dachau.

      • Citizen
        January 11, 2014, 2:04 pm

        So who owned the place Ann Frank hid, and who secretly brought her and her family survival items and hope? Was it, G-d forbid, gentiles with a genetic disposition for jew hatred? The exception to the Zionist rule throughout history? Wanna choose between Mother Theresa and Bernie Madoff? Ask those Jews who loyally bought into Madoff’s enterprise? Don’t hear about them much lately.

    • Kathleen
      January 8, 2014, 9:31 pm

      Times are a changin

      • just
        January 11, 2014, 2:57 pm

        Who ran the Danish and Norwegian resistance undergrounds to save Jewish people?

      • MHughes976
        January 11, 2014, 3:50 pm

        I understand that Mies Giep, who was most involved in hiding the Frank family, was of Viennese Catholic origin but an agnostic by personal conviction. Given the general pattern of faith in Scandinavia I would suppose that the Holger Danske organisation, which was most involved in the rescue of Danish Jews, was mainly composed of Lutherans and secularists.

      • RoHa
        January 11, 2014, 7:36 pm

        “Who ran the Danish and Norwegian resistance undergrounds to save Jewish people?”

        No-one. The world stood by and did nothing. Don’t you remember that?

      • just
        January 11, 2014, 8:42 pm

        Yes… There was nobody willing to sacrifice their own lives for any Jewish folks.

        Not one. I forgot……

      • puppies
        January 11, 2014, 9:19 pm

        And damn that relentless “to save Jewish people” litany, too!
        The Resistance was opposing Nazi invasion and occupation. Some people here seem to think a war of aggression consisted in only persecuting “Jewish people”, in earnest.
        Of course they all fought to try and keep their Jewish citizens out of the eye of the Nazis (as if that was easy, there is only that little one can do in these cases…) and a lot of them had to pay for it. This applies to all Nazi-occupied lands, from Greece, Albania, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, to Norway, Denmark, later Italy and, yes, Poland and Yugoslavia. A good number of “Jewish” citizens, i.e. a few religious and many others with some kind of ancestry, fought in the Resistance in each country while the Zionist cowards were turkey-shooting Palestinians and murdering British officers.
        It is nauseating to hear it called a “fight to save Jewish people”. Where is people reading history, at the Zionist High School?

  2. HarryLaw
    January 8, 2014, 1:02 pm

    Ben White said in this excellent article in Middle East Monitor “the rationale behind PGGM’s decision highlights the weakness of those who push a ‘settlement products only’ boycott strategy. The Dutch realised that “it would be impossible to create a firewall between its investments in Israeli banks and the banks’ activities in the territories”, and thus opted for boycott even of banks that only had “indirect” ties to settlements”. This Dutch giant has assets of 131 billion euros.

    • ritzl
      January 8, 2014, 2:47 pm

      Good points. You don’t have to look too deeply or too long to realize that Israel and what they call the Occupation (but is really “The Annexation”) are seamless and inseparable.

      This may seem tangential, but when I was reading MJ Rosenberg’s review of Shalit’s book he made a statement that really set me back. Rosenberg said:

      Shavit’s description of how Israel was created is almost literally nauseating, at least it was for a liberal Zionist like me. (emphasis mine)

      How can someone as heretofore seemingly knowledgeable as MJR be “nauseated” by these revelations (to him)? How could he not know? The info has been out there for many decades, yet it’s like he’s hearing of it for the first time.

      To connect it to what you said, MJR’s ignorance was either real, feigned, or enforced. Who knows which. But the point, to me anyway, and tie-in is that these connections (in this case Israel-“proper” banks to Israeli settlement enterprise and policy) are just microns below the hasbara surface. Like Shavit’s book did for Rosenberg, this action shatters any pretense of ignorability. For anyone pretending to ignore. For the duration. Ad nauseam.

      • ziusudra
        January 8, 2014, 10:59 pm

        Greetings ritzl,
        …. a liberal Zionist like me….
        Thank you for your views.
        How does a liberal Zionist define Zionism?
        PS I understood Liberal to define the liberal attitude of Eurpean impovrished Aristocracy of the 18thC to allow People of ‘money’
        to enter their circles becoming a new political concept of theirs
        of which they had the power.
        No different then the fraternity between the German King & the
        Fugger Dynasty in 1495.

      • ritzl
        January 9, 2014, 1:31 pm

        Hi ziusudra. I have zero idea of what “liberal” means in this issue. But some people like to call themselves that so it seems to be descriptive of something.

      • Citizen
        January 9, 2014, 1:32 am

        @ ritzl

        Yeah, MJR’s choice of what to selectively tell us with his insider information on AIPAC and Israel is always like Kerry’s mental map of Israel.

      • ritzl
        January 9, 2014, 1:35 pm

        @Citizen- I always wonder if the selectivity is personal/internal (can’t handle the truth), or strategy for the rest of us. My new opinion of MJR is that he is trying to hold the line from what he perceives to be the middle, so maybe both in his case.

      • American
        January 9, 2014, 2:29 pm

        ‘How can someone as heretofore seemingly knowledgeable as MJR be “nauseated” by these revelations (to him)? How could he not know? The info has been out there for many decades, yet it’s like he’s hearing of it for the first time”……ritzl

        LOL…because their brains are missing some critical function of normal brains.
        Here is a good example in this article complaining about “Word Pollution” used against Israel to ‘incite’ opposition to it.
        They go into a long rant on how divest and boycott are word pollutions that incite and condemning the MLA for joining the boycott.

        The Modern Language Association (MLA) ignores word pollution

        ”Those who know something about the history of such incitement know that such incitement predates the establishment of the State of Israel, and bears no relationship whatsoever to Israeli presence in the Administered Territories.”

        Of course either their brains cant grasp or they think others brains cant grasp that calling Occupied Palestine “Administered Territories” is actual word(s) pollution.

        Just accept their alien-brain-ness and quit agonizing over it…its not going to change.

      • annie
        January 9, 2014, 5:25 pm

        and bears no relationship whatsoever to Israeli presence in the Administered Territories.


      • ritzl
        January 9, 2014, 6:28 pm

        @American Word pollution/blather is an accepted tactic that is rapidly losing effectiveness. Agree that the JPost article is exactly that. Who cares what they, or the local hasbaratniks say.

        But as to agonizing (good word), I do and will. I think agonism is what this site is trying to get to, at least as a first step in broader awareness and action within the Jewish community, on Israel. I think this site pushes the limits of acceptable discourse on this issue. It’s needed, but it’s dangerous. This site balances the poke in the eye with the challenge to talk. So, yes, agonism is my state of mind on this, particularly here, fwiw.

        MJR was courageous in using “Israel Firster” to point out a real phenom. I think that you of all people would agree with his identification and use of that term. I certainly did. But now he is recalibrating, if not backtracking. Personally, I think his changeability is a sign of the success of moving this “debate” forward into uncharted, but potentially resolvable, territory.

        He obviously can process, but only so far. I think that is an indication of what this site is up against, if not EI where Abunimah probably thought MJR as an ally, and the larger debate for hearts and minds on this issue. MJR’s drop-off was a surprise to me. Maybe to others as well. So where lies the next surprise, and from whom? What motivates such a precipitous change? What are the signs of durable acceptance of a MW/universal rights-based PoV, vs. some glib, subsurface, temporary, “word pollution” (to use it another way) acceptance of seemingly (as an assumption) deeply held principles.

        I don’t know, I think the closer to solution/consensus the MW narrative gets, the more pushback it’s going to get, and the more skilled we all have to be in seeking/feeling a way through the next layer/form of obstinacy.

        Sorry, I talk too much. Be well. “Agonize” resonated … :)

      • American
        January 9, 2014, 11:04 pm

        @ ritzl

        About MJR and his possible backtracking……it may be, cause this happens, that he realizes more and more people are turning on Israel and now it scares him……like ….’uh oh this criticism is going futher than I wanted it too”! So he’s inclined now to run circle the wagons with the family.
        As I said before MJ has been on the right track calling out the US politicians—just too bad not more people have been doing that cause that is the link in the I/P chain that has to be broken.
        The reason I say dont agonize over the zios (and therefore Israel) is because thats what a lot of people here do and its useless really…..ziodom really, really, really isnt going to change, reform or have some kind of moral awakening which means Israel isnt either…without something big and bad happening……which in turn upsets all kinds of Jews zios or not.
        But there’s no point in wringing our brains over why they are what they are—-all we can do is try to expose them and take their political power away.

    • pabelmont
      January 8, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Thanks Harry. I hope the Dutch who are boycotting the Israeli banks make it very clear that “All of Israel is One” and it makes no sense to regard some as “law-breaking” and other as “clean”.

      For me, boycott-all-of-Israel (all businesses, all imports and services, arts, academy, sports (never forget sports)) makes sense for two reasons. [1] really tyhe whole society is supporting the settlements, the expulsions of 1948, the apartheid(s), [2] the whole society needs to feel the boycott if the whole society is to change direction.

      Imagine, for example, that all Israeli businesses presently operating in the OPTs stopped cold turkey. (Not sure about the power and water grids), but buses could stop service (let settlers use their cars). THEN IN THAT CASE, where would there be any Israeli businesses left to boycott? And if there were none, what sense would botcott-the-settlers-only make?

      But of course, the builders borrowed money to build the settlements, and the lenders — banks — could still be boycotted, as the present boycott shows.

      • Citizen
        January 9, 2014, 1:35 am

        @ pabelmount

        The US government seems to have no problem using its own massive BDS on Iran and all its people, hoping to eventually use this collective punishment to instigate a peasant uprising against the insulated Iranian leadership.

      • amigo
        January 10, 2014, 9:08 am

        “The US government seems to have no problem using its own massive BDS on Iran and all its people, hoping to eventually use this collective punishment to instigate a peasant uprising against the insulated Iranian leadership.”Citizen

        Indeed not.Nor were they lax in applying their own BDS on the Iraqi People.

        Of course, it would be anti semitic of me to suggest there is a Zionist Influence in these decisions.

    • just
      January 8, 2014, 3:55 pm

      And that has what to do with this divestment from odious Israel?

      I can always count on you to bring up the irrelevant and ridiculous. Inciting all the way, eh hophmi?

      • hophmi
        January 8, 2014, 4:16 pm

        “And that has what to do with this divestment from odious Israel?”

        Just pointing out the hypocrisy. You’re free to ignore it.

      • annie
        January 8, 2014, 4:58 pm

        what hypocrisy? you’ve lost me.

      • just
        January 8, 2014, 5:04 pm

        hophmi– Are you making this a religious thingy?

        This is BDS against ISRAEL and its odious actions.


      • puppies
        January 8, 2014, 6:20 pm

        No contradiction. “Israel” is a crazy theocracy, too.

      • Shingo
        January 8, 2014, 10:17 pm

        Just pointing out the hypocrisy.

        If the Dutch are anti-Islam, then where is the hypocrisy?

      • Tzombo
        January 9, 2014, 3:11 am

        What hypocrisy is that? Sounds pretty consistent to me. Sharia or human rights? Human rights it is. Israeli settlements or human rights? Human rights it is.

      • annie
        January 9, 2014, 5:30 pm

        hm, hops is mysteriously silent after 24 hrs. i guess he was just slinging around the word hypocrisy and can’t support the allegation. maybe he didn’t open his own links.

      • Cliff
        January 9, 2014, 6:46 am

        What hypocrisy, hophead?

        I think you should fix your troll-bot algorithm.

    • Cliff
      January 8, 2014, 4:27 pm

      Do you realize how unhinged you seem, hoppy?

      This is your first response to all MW threads. Deflection/diversion/disassembling.

      You should see a therapist.

      • talknic
        January 8, 2014, 6:04 pm

        @ Cliff “You should see a therapist”

        He is the rapist

      • Kathleen
        January 8, 2014, 9:33 pm

        A well known strategy that worked for a long time

    • Bumblebye
      January 8, 2014, 5:02 pm

      “Most of the Dutch are anti-Islam”

      Oh dear. So how come my cousins daughter and her young family haven’t moved to the UK (where her family, not her husbands, live)?

      • Dutch
        January 8, 2014, 5:29 pm

        “Most of the Dutch are anti-Islam”

        This is new for me too. We have Geert Wilders and his anti-islam PVV (party), but that’s about it. And we have a million or so muslims who seem to be doing fine.

      • Bumblebye
        January 8, 2014, 5:37 pm

        It’s hophead’s assertion! Obviously got his wrong head on again (always?). If it were so bad that “most” were Islamophobic I’d expect huge numbers to be taking advantage of EU mobility and trying to find somewhere more welcoming. It aint happening as far as I know!

    • Justpassingby
      January 8, 2014, 5:20 pm

      hophimi use Hasbara 101:

      “Turn enemies of Israel against each other”.

      • Citizen
        January 11, 2014, 2:31 pm

        @ Justpassingby
        Divide and conquer has been the Zionist approach from day one. I don’t blame them as it’s the usual way to gain power, but I do object that this approach is not put under klieg lights in the US mainstream media. You know, informed consent should mean something in a titular democracy like the USA?

    • talknic
      January 9, 2014, 6:03 pm

      @ hophmi “PGGM refuses to create Shariah-compliant pension plans”

      Typical idiot for Israel attempt to deceive. This what is actually said in the link you provided

      “Dutch fund PGGM confirmed it had no shariah compliant investment alternatives and no plans to introduce any”

      and the reason is of course one of usury

      “Bart Heenk, managing director of the Benelux and Nordic, SEI, said unless there was pressure from the member base, it was unlikely pension fund board members would turn their attention away from producing returns” (ibid)

      Thanks for again affording the opportunity to show readers how low people like yourself are willing to go


      Keep up th’ good work

      Y’re doing a great job

  3. Dutch
    January 8, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Just on the Dutch news: ABP (Algemeen Burgerlijk Pensioenfonds), another huge pension fund, is telling the Israeli banks to disengage from the occupation, or they will divest from them as well.

    • just
      January 8, 2014, 2:37 pm

      Yeah! Go Netherlands!

    • HarryLaw
      January 8, 2014, 2:37 pm

      Hope that’s true Dutch, ABP, invested capital 292 billion euros, is one of the biggest pension funds in the world

      • Dutch
        January 8, 2014, 3:05 pm

        Harry — according to the news ABP has been talking to the banks longtime, as to give them the chance to improve their practices. We all know this is not gonna happen. It sounds like ABP’s decision is well underway.

        ABP would be the fourth large Dutch company to cut its ties with the occupation in just a few months.

        Both PGGM and ABP will probably divest from other companies as well.

    • ritzl
      January 8, 2014, 2:49 pm

      Wow!! :)

  4. Ellen
    January 8, 2014, 4:14 pm

    This is significant. The Dutch, being the pragmatic Dutch, are looking down the road to their future liabilities being potentially indirectly involved in illegal annexation of territories.

    • seafoid
      January 8, 2014, 4:22 pm

      I wonder who’ll be the first mainstream on -message prominent American bot to publicly renounce the cult of Zionism and cite the damage it has done to the image of Judaism around the world.

      • Ellen
        January 8, 2014, 4:38 pm

        seafoid, I do not see that happening. In fact it will not be needed. More and more institutions will simply pull their dough out. Actions will speak louder.

        Identifying liability and risk is paramount for these guys more and more in today’s world. That some of the largest pension companies in the world are now pulling out, speaks volumes. They have teams of analysts and legal council looking out for potential pitfalls. These guys running pensions think years down the road.

        They know what is coming and do not want to wind up like other institutions that are still dealing with some dark legacies that looked simply like business as usual at the time.

        More will follow this.

      • seafoid
        January 8, 2014, 4:56 pm

        American judaism will have to schism before Israel caves in, imo.
        The people running the show in Israel are nuts and American jews will be forced to stick the knife in before they can understand they are very close to the cliff. Zionism is running on empty.

      • pabelmont
        January 8, 2014, 6:48 pm

        seafoid: I surely hope American Jews begin to turn on Israel (or to join BDS, which is by no means the same thing, though it seems so to many Israelis).
        But if BDS can target enough Israeli companies (here, some banks) and cause them to lose SERIOUS profits, then — assuming Israel works the way the USA does, with the BIG BUSINESSes running everything — the businesses may create pressure on the government sufficient to get Israeli compliance with BDS’s goals. In my view, that is one purpose of BDS, to strongly inconvenience Israeli businesses.

      • ziusudra
        January 8, 2014, 11:56 pm

        Greetings seafoid,
        Should we expats blame the US People because our People in government are corrupt? It is not Judaism & it is not the People in Israel &/or the US.
        If we view all the lobbists of yesteryear, did we remove them all?
        We got rid of McCarty, but J.Edgar Hoover got away! He was worse & far longer in office! Did we stop Randolf Hearst? No! Did we stop the Plantation Owners? No! Did we control the oil, Mineral, lumber, coal, water companies? Times & nature, implosion or corruption did the Job, not the Messias nor Robin Hood.
        These 3 Mythologies are crap, but they have nothing to do with it.
        Happy New Year, babe.

      • ritzl
        January 8, 2014, 5:34 pm

        Interesting, Ellen. I wonder if there is any connection to these Dutch entities leading on this and the IHL tribunal infrastructure just up/down the road. Is there any cross-talk between colleagues, neighbors, old college roomies, barflies, etc. about potential legal liabilities and/or their magnitudes?

        Probably just coincidence, but it is possible that a deep-background body of thought is developing on this in Holland. There’s proximity enough.

      • Ellen
        January 8, 2014, 6:17 pm

        ritzl, you do not even have to look at the IHL tribunal down the road. Just look across the borders to France, Germany, Switzerland. How many firms, banks, insurances, pensions, even the French railroad are still dealing with and paying for decisions made in another era? This is obvious to any long term risk assessment analyst.

        Germany, for example, has paid enormous reparations for unjust and illegal confiscation of property. When heirs to the confiscation could not be found, reparations went to the Israeli state. (This is one reason why Israel must to assure that no Palestinian state is established.)

        There is now a large body of legal precedent under the Reparations for Holocaust Era Human Rights violations. With the degree of human rights violations and illegal confiscation of property of Palestinians, the liability is staring these firms in the face.

        If they are not walking now, they will soon be running.

        The Dutch are cold Pragmatist. They see it.

      • just
        January 8, 2014, 7:10 pm

        Not much will change until ‘somebodies’ get a conscience. Hitting anyone in the purse hurts, but hitting them in their solar plexus of much vaunted “democracy” (a terrible lie) and exposing them as charlatans is requisite, imho. They go hand in hand.

        That means us and Israel.

        (and I am being kind.)

      • ziusudra
        January 8, 2014, 11:28 pm

        Greetings Ellen,
        We & the natives of Germany are still paying for the sacking of the wealth of the Churchs of all confessions from Napolean of 1803! We have geneartions to go. Costs? 500mn Euros annually!
        Happy New Year, dear.

      • seafoid
        January 9, 2014, 2:55 am

        I think you are right on the liability side, Ellen. Business with Israel is tainted. But there must be an influence coming from the financial crisis as well. Companies are much more risk averse now there is less money sloshing around.

    • just
      January 8, 2014, 4:23 pm

      Multiple fingers in the dike now.


  5. seafoid
    January 8, 2014, 4:58 pm

    No sign of any of the hasbara heavyweights on this thread. Hoph didn’t even try.

    • just
      January 8, 2014, 7:47 pm

      He/She’s on the proverbial couch.

      (May he/she find some solace followed by wellness/truth while there. Hasbara be gone!)

  6. American
    January 8, 2014, 5:08 pm

    There needs to be serious, serious pressure on US labor unions to shed their holdings of Israeli bonds…they are major investors…as well as on many state employee retirement and investment funds.
    BDS should get going on that…if they really truly want to hit Israel where it hurts.
    It wouldnt be hard to make the case to union members on several grounds besides the moral grounds ; that their retirment funds are at risk in Israel, and that investing funds in a foreign country is unpatriotic and does nothing for business, labor and jobs in the US..

    • Citizen
      January 9, 2014, 1:44 am

      @ American
      Good point. Israel bonds are a bad investment from a financial point of view as well as from a humanitarian and international law perspective. Time to wake up American union leadership and municipal and state leadership as to the economic and inhumane folly of investing in Israel bonds.

  7. pabelmont
    January 8, 2014, 5:28 pm

    Sp, there it is: The Banks are REQUIRED BY LAW to serve the internationally-illegal projects. So BDS-ing these banks is quite a bit like BDS-ing ISRAEL ITSELF.


    Hope they hold to their decision AND that all this gets some play in the USA’s MSM.

    • Ellen
      January 8, 2014, 6:21 pm

      “REQUIRED BY LAW” That was rich. Enforcing the Nuremberg laws didn’t protect anyone from International Tribunals or Human Rights Laws.

  8. HarryLaw
    January 8, 2014, 5:49 pm

    The UK Foreign Office last month issued guidance on trade with the settlements, it was published by the Department of Trade and Industry on its overseas business risk register here. they warn firms to be aware of legal and economic risks in financial transactions and purchases benefiting Israeli settlements in the West Bank owing to disputed titles to land, water, mineral or other natural resources. And that those people contemplating economic or financial involvement should seek legal advice. They also warn of damage to their reputations. Wee Willy Vague issued the guidance, hope springs eternal.

    • Ellen
      January 8, 2014, 6:23 pm

      The UK Foreign Office is covering its butt with paper. British banks and pension schemes and investment funds, etc. will soon follow the Dutch.

  9. Whizdom
    January 8, 2014, 6:03 pm

    As suggested above, this just may be a sound business decision, rather than a moral (or a manifestation of bigotry, as you prefer) statement. The pension funds may view underwriting risk in the OT as too risky, due the potential of default, especially if the GOI refuses to allow risk adjustment.

  10. radii
    January 8, 2014, 6:56 pm

    hey israel and zionist agents around the world:

    you no longer control the narrative nor the messaging … better take whatever deal Kerry is offering up now because it’s the best you’re going to get and things will only get worse as BDS gathers steam and israel becomes isolated

  11. pabelmont
    January 8, 2014, 6:59 pm

    USA’s MSM coverage just now: Fox, Minneapolis Star tribune.

    That’s not very many, yet, considering the Associated Press ran it.

  12. Whizdom
    January 8, 2014, 9:00 pm

    Next to watch. Belgium. Israel’s number 2 trade partner (after the US). Diamonds.

    • seafoid
      January 9, 2014, 2:56 am

      Diamonds will be last. It’s often a business between relatives.

  13. stevelaudig
    January 8, 2014, 9:20 pm

    So it seems the Dutch, again for the third? second? time in a century, are resisting an illegal military occupation by an army of a an ‘ist’ state. “Ist” in imperialist, fascist or zionist.

  14. dimadok
    January 8, 2014, 10:38 pm

    Sorry to spoil moronic hate fest.
    Meanwhile PA signs 1.2 billion gas agreement with Israeli companies.
    Dutch may go and feel righteous somewhere else.

    • puppies
      January 8, 2014, 11:02 pm

      Sure, they can afford to. They are not enslaved, besieged and held at gunpoint as the so-called PA. They can even afford to join the prosecution when the time comes. Sorry to spoil your orgasm: here goes the most philo-Zionist country (and investors.)

    • Sumud
      January 8, 2014, 11:14 pm

      You can’t spoil it dimadok.

      So don’t worry yourself, well – not about us anyway.

    • Dutch
      January 8, 2014, 11:54 pm

      @ dimadok
      “Dutch may go and feel righteous somewhere else.”

      How about your house?

      • Citizen
        January 9, 2014, 1:48 am

        Yeah no worry about armored bulldozers at dimadok’s house.

      • Dutch
        January 10, 2014, 2:44 pm

        Unless we bring our own. How is that, Citizen?

    • Sammar
      January 9, 2014, 1:16 am

      @ dimadok
      The PA has very limited options on who to sign any agreement with. The PA is basically forced to deal with Israel only. The Palestinians even have to buy back the water that Israel is stealing from them.
      I was at the UNOCHA office in Jerusalem a few years ago during the visit by Arun Ghandi. UNOCHA people told us that at least 40% of all the financial aid the Palestinians receive goes straight into the Israeli economy. Clearly the stranglehold on the Palestinians is good business for Israel.

      Any deal that the PA signs with Israel is not by choice but by necessity.
      Dimadok cannot possibly be that clueless not to know that.

      And anyway, wha’ts that got do to with the Dutch divestment? They have other options to invest their money, they don’t HAVE to deal with Israel and they have wisely chosen to no longer do so.

    • Tzombo
      January 9, 2014, 3:16 am

      Lol, the PA are Israeli stooges. The sooner they fall, the sooner there’s a solution.

  15. Sycamores
    January 8, 2014, 11:52 pm

    Dutch pension fund quits Israeli banks over settlements

    yahoo news had me in the stitches with their last two paragraphs

    [Israeli deputy Foreign minister Zeev Elkin last month said he was “blindsided” by Vitens’ pullout “and a few more European companies have made similar decisions in the past months, which have blindsided us exactly in parallel with the peace process.”

    Zeev, speaking to Israeli military radio, said that peace initiatives should mean “that people don’t breathe down our neck”, but “unfortunately this doesn’t work.”]

    what Zeev is saying – in past the peace talks got people off our backs while we could carry on robbing Palestinian land but not now, it’s not fair boohoo!

    maybe the israelis are beginning to realise that their hasbara is failing. when their hasbara fails their myth base narrative will soon follow.

    • annie
      January 9, 2014, 12:27 am

      Sycamores link “PGGM recently decided to no longer invest in five Israeli banks,” said the company, which manages about 153 billion euros ($208 bn)in funds.

      oh my. not exactly a drop in the bucket.

      • Citizen
        January 9, 2014, 1:53 am

        @ Annie Robbins
        Do you know how many billion Madoff stole all by himself? It’s an astounding figure impacting our economy right here. Add the Wall St bailouts, where that problem has not been fixed by Obama’s tinkering reforms. Maybe we should boycott our own government? Why, then we’d have a clue how it is to be a Palestinian, eh?

    • pabelmont
      January 9, 2014, 10:45 am

      Sycamores — you’ve put your finger expertly on the new situation: Israeli (pretense to be) taking part in the peace process (or, more correctly, “peace process”) used to persuade EU countries not to take any sort of ethical, or legally-required steps against Israeli on-going crimes of occupation. Suddenly (although apparently with 5 years lead-up) EU folks are waking up to the idea that Israel’s doing (or pretending to do) peace-work is not a “get-out-of-jail-free card” w.r.t. Israel’s on-going crimes.

      After all, international law does not clearly require an occupying country to make peace, although everyone assumed an occupation would be of short duration and UN Charter appears to forbid acquisition of territory by threat or use of force. So Israel should not be rewarded for doing something (peace making) which the law does not require.

      Contrariwise, the law does forbid an occupier from doing all kinds of things that Israel has been doing, routinely, over many decades, among them settling Israeli citizens within occupied territory and expropriating land on which to make settlements. To say nothing of building the wall.

      So EU (and all other countries, of course) should be applying great pressure upon Israel to stop doing forbidden acts. and should not refrain from applying such pressure because of the pretense Israel makes (or even the reality, if any) of peace-making.

      The idea of walking and chewing gum at the same time somehow comes to mind. Israel should be able to conduct the occupation legally and, at the same time, to do peace-work — if so inclined.

  16. Djinn
    January 8, 2014, 11:58 pm

    Sorry to let you know that this news doesn’t spoil anything. No-one ever claimed that BDS would be taken up by everyone. No-one ever claimed that the Dutch pension win meant that no company/state would ever trade with Israel again.

    What exactly do you think is spoiled?

    PS – PPGC & PA are not interchangeable

    • seafoid
      January 9, 2014, 2:42 am

      The Israel economy has fully integrated the territories. The Israeli banks fund the settlements and it’s probably a big chunk of their business given 10% of Israeli Jews live in YESHA and they have a higher standard of living due to all the perks they get from the Government. Upthread it was mentioned that 40% of aid to the Palestinians ends up in the Israeli economy. The Israeli companies that end up with this money need this because if it’s taken away they’ll have to work to replace it and they have probably grown fat off the ease of taking money from people with nothing.

      Investors don’t like red numbers either and there’s a big credibility issue about what they were thinking about when they agreed to these arrangements. Finance is all about the future and how you propose to move forward. If there is bad news, best to man up, explain it, quantify the damage and move on.

      Israel can’t do this. They can’t go back to 1967 because they have made so many promises to the settlers and the occupation is probably at least 10-15% of Israeli GDP. If they pull out there’ll be chaos and there might even be civil war. They don’t have the moolah to pay off the Hebron settlers, for example. When Bibi said there was no solution to the problem of 4 million Palestinians in JDisneyland’s carpark what he really meant was that they were supposed to have left years ago.

      It is a total mess. If the financial community gets wind of what’s going on, the end could come much faster than people think. The numbers never lie when crisis hits.

      • Citizen
        January 11, 2014, 3:02 pm

        The US government has no compunction in penalizing the entire Persian people of Iran via sanctions, with more to come with 58 Senators already favoring, for what it thinks is in Israel’s best interest, so why shouldn’t Israel be penalized in like manner?

  17. Citizen
    January 9, 2014, 1:57 am

    Meanwhile, speaking of financial/economic sanctions, now that we have our new customary Jewish American at the head of the Fed (but first female), can we expect the dual citizen Israeli banker to take the number two spot? You know, the guy who’s all gung-ho on America attacking Iran?

  18. jayn0t
    January 9, 2014, 2:14 am

    The Dutch company “pulled out its investments because of the banks’ involvement in the occupied West Bank”. So it recognizes the right of Jews from all over the world to ethnically cleanse Israel proper, so long as they don’t do it outside the 1967 frontiers. The term “occupied territories” is a Zionist diversion. It’s all occupied.

    • Sumud
      January 9, 2014, 6:26 am

      I agree that the problem is larger than 1967 jaynot – but this is the nature of a movement like BDS: incremental and consensus-driven. It’s not over yet.

      It’s a spectacular achievement to have large pension funds divesting not even 10 years after the BDS call.

    • pabelmont
      January 9, 2014, 10:53 am

      True. But the old idea that the nations accept Israel into the community of nations, the UNGA, etc., was based on post-1948 declarations by Israel, and the old ethnic cleansing was (agreed to be) ignored.

      No doubt most countries have some skeletons in their closet and agree to ignore Israel’s in exchange for everyone else ignoring their own.

      But, yes, it;s all occupied.

      • Citizen
        January 9, 2014, 3:17 pm

        I thought Israel declared its borders upon its application to the world to be a state in 1948? Yet it went beyond those borders in 1948, and again in 1967, and is now asking Kerry & Palestinians to OK all this land grabbing?

        Not to mention in later 1947 thru its self-declaration as a state in 1948, it kicked out 750,000 natives?

        Am I missing something? If so, what is it?

  19. Whizdom
    January 9, 2014, 6:26 am

    The rest of the story. The Dutch funded, built and installed a huge container inspection device intended to allow for inspection of commercial goods from Gaza to West Bank. The Dutch trade minister came into town to inaugurate the facility, and at the last minute, the GOI cancelled the event, when the Dutch FM protested the cancellation, saying they didn’t want movement of goods from Gaza. A diplomatic contrempts ensued.
    The theory of “engagement”, where the argument against sanctions is that more constructive remediation of a problem can be obtained by working with the perpetrator than against them. Like the US Reagan policy in South Africa. Like Blair’s EU vision of improving economic conditions for the Palestinians as a means of placating an angry population, with vague promises of political freedom later.

    EU is tired of spending development money in the territories for irrigation, water treatment, and other infrastructure, and having GOI tear it up later.

    The Blair vision and the “engagement” concept are now shown to be unsuitable for the conditions. Congrats Israel, you just added to the EU block of votes in the UN for Palestinian Statehood.

  20. Whizdom
    January 9, 2014, 7:37 am

    More of the Story. Royal Dutch Shell is in talks with Iran regarding oilfield modernization once the sanctions are lifted. One of 7 big oil outfits invited by Iran to negotiate concessions in a Dec 3 meeting in Tehran

    Israel’s diplomatic slight to the Dutch Trade Minister in the Gaza transhipment port kerfluffle was an expression of disapproval.

    Might of backfired.

    • piotr
      January 9, 2014, 7:36 pm

      I do not think that the non-opening of the custom facility for Gaza was related to “disapproval” of Shell. For some reasons the blockade of Gazan economy is a cornerstone of Israeli strategy. The reasons are opaque and only partially rational. Given the way of thinking of Israeli officialdom, it is more puzzling that someone approved the Dutch plan than that the plan was eventually nixed.

      Apparently, the Dutch have limited tolerance for such behavior, and the decision of PGGM may be related to the slap on the face received by the Netherlands.

      EU votes in UN do not matter too much. However, one of these days there can be a unanimous decision to require economic boycott of the kind applied by PGGM, namely of all economic entities that do business with settlements in occupied territories. The support of Israel is getting thinner and thinner.

  21. Whizdom
    January 9, 2014, 7:41 am

    Iran named seven Western companies it wants back to explore oil in the country after international sanctions are lifted, including five European and two American firms. Contract terms will be announced in April 2014.

    Total of France, Royal Dutch Shell, Italy’s ENI, Norway’s Statoil, Britain’s BP and US companies ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips will be welcome to work in the country, Reuters reported Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying.

    Speaking to reporters at an OPEC meeting, Zanganeh said he had already negotiated with some of the companies, but not yet with the American firms.

    “We had no limitations for US companies. Twenty years ago there were limitations against them from their own administration. For doing projects in Iran, we have no limitations,” Zanganeh said.

    In reply to a question about whether Iran wants to see Chinese and Indian companies working in Iran, he said: “Yes, but now we are discussing with European [firms].”

    Norway, France, Italy, Holland, and maybe the US. No wonder Israel wants Iranian sanctions to continue.

    Lots more upside in Iranian Oil than in infrastructure bonds in a small middle eastern conflict zone.

  22. Erasmus
    January 9, 2014, 6:24 pm

    Great news from Holland – PPGM should get an encouraging Feed back…
    i thought…
    ………and sent an email of appreciation to PPGM CEO , Mrs. Else Bos under the
    following email-address: [email protected]

    Subject : PGGM – Statement regarding exclusion of Israeli banks

    To: Mrs. Else Bos, PGGM CEO

    Kroostweg Noord 149 , Zeist
    3700 AC , Netherlands

    Dear Mrs. Bos,

    C H A P E A U ! ! !

    this is with reference to your company’s decision to discontinue PPGM-investments with 5 Israeli banks.

    I want to commend you for this decision, especially for the principled reasoning upon which the decision is based; in particular i do refer in this context to the very text of your public statement, highlighting

    – the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice ” that the settlements in the Palestinian territories are in breach of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Population in Time of War.”

    I understand that the Divestment decision has only been made after a protracted policy dialogue with the concerned Israeli banks, and after realization that these had been neither willing nor allegedly able to end “their involvement in financing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

    Hoping that your decision will become an example for other (European) companies and banks to follow suit.


    • Dutch
      January 10, 2014, 10:32 am

      Good idea. We’re doing the same. The correct address:

      Mrs. E. Bos, CEO
      Kroostweg Noord 149
      3700 AC ZEIST
      The Netherlands

      Or use the e-mail-address Erasmus supplied. It would certainly help if folks drop them a line.

  23. seafoid
    January 10, 2014, 3:23 am

    I think in years to come that 2013 will be seen as a turning point for BDS and the weakening of the Israeli narrative. 2 major Dutch decisions- on water and pension investment – and the ASA decision show that the Dersh and the rest of the bot wizards are losing their touch. Israel promised the world a Palestinian State and it’s too late now to turn around and say it’s not going to happen. Customer expectations are important in every sphere of life.

    You would almost feel sorry for the spindoctors of Zionism- your Regevs and Palmors.

  24. Dutch
    January 10, 2014, 9:05 am

    Israel now demands that the Dutch government takes a stance against divestment, that ‘damages the bilateral relations’. Obviously a normal thing to do for regimes such as Israel (where banks can be forced by law to participate in high crime).

    • Ellen
      January 10, 2014, 9:47 am

      Dutch, I imagine that is being covered only in the Dutch media? Would love to see a link on that information, even if not in English.

      From your information, this seems quite bizarre and surely not “normal.” How can the Israeli government DEMAND that the Dutch government take a stand, especially when it might not have any position at all?

      Who is the Israeli government to demand that the Dutch government take a stand on divestment? PGMM’s move has nothing to do with the Dutch government.

      The decisions private Dutch industry take to properly run a business have nothing to do with the Dutch government. They can decide to work or not work anywhere they want.

      It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Israel’s demands of the Dutch government may backfire onto Israel.

  25. Dutch
    January 10, 2014, 10:24 am

    @ Ellen

    Here is a link, from the Dutch quality newspaper NRC (there is a tweet in English in the text):

    As for your comment, you are absolutely right. There is no chance that the government will interfere in business matters. But as PGGM crossed a line in as much that the company has cut ties with all companies involved in the occupation (even if their own business with them has nothing to do with it), Israel is freaking out.

    Another daily (Volkskrant) has its front page up on the matter (not online), stating that even the Israeli left (Adam Keller is commenting) is against the PGGM-decision. For them dealing with Israeli banks on matters outside the occupation is perfectly okay. The ‘boycott’ decision PGGM has taken is ‘unfair’, according to Keller. Can you imagine? I would love Mondoweiss to get in touch with him, and ask him to explain. Are these the people we are relying upon?

    The crux is what Harry Law mentioned above: ‘The Dutch realised that “it would be impossible to create a firewall between its investments in Israeli banks and the banks’ activities in the territories”, and thus opted for boycott even of banks that only had “indirect” ties to settlements”’. See his link to

  26. Ellen
    January 10, 2014, 11:12 am

    Thank you Dutch! From your links, it looks like Israel demanded that the Dutch government take a stand AGAINST the actions of PGGM. And the government has responded with is ongoing stance:

    the Dutch government discourages companies to make investments or to engage in or benefit of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories other activities. Discourage not prohibit.

    This is essentially the same stance taken by the government in the UK.

    From what I read PGGM has not cut all ties yet. Just the named banks, and this after an extended period and recognition that the Israeli banks operate in a framework where they are prohibited by the Israeli government not to offer banking services in the occupied areas. Yet if Israeli law is in conflict with international law, it is obvious that large international companies doing business in Israel will orient themselves to international guidelines and law. History shows us the way.

    Others have not been excluded for investment, but this could (and probably will) happen.

    From the PGGM press release:

    PGGM continues its dialogue with a small number of other companies on the same issue and will report on progress through its regular reporting.

    This is a huge business story, really. And it seems that only Leonie van Nierop of nrc Handelsblad of the Netherlands is covering it.

    Where is Bloomberg News on this?

    • Dutch
      January 10, 2014, 11:31 am

      Ellen, in NL all news outlets are on top of it, but Van Nierop (correspondent of NRC Handelsblad) is a leading source.

      Next Thursday there will be a debate in parliament re. Vitens (and no doubt PGGM, or Royal Haskoning/DHV and Unilever before them).

      As for the stance of the Dutch government: It has been unchanged since many years. And yes, the UK has recently adopted a similar stance.

      As for your last question:

      • Ellen
        January 10, 2014, 5:41 pm

        Thanks for the update, Dutch. Bloomberg covered it with an interview on the European Bloomberg and their reporter presented and sort of dismissed it as “activist” investing.

        Are the Dutch known as activist investors?????

        Anyway, other than a article in RT, still crickets in the US business media.

        As this unfolds, Europeans will be demonized by Israelis and in the US. But who will be left holding the bag 10 years down the road?

      • Citizen
        January 11, 2014, 3:06 pm

        @ Ellen
        Gee, let me guess, Dick and Jane?

    • Ellen
      January 10, 2014, 11:55 am

      Opps, and Haaretz.

      (Interesting comments on Haaretz, now readers blaming/agreeing that the Dutch “collaborated” in the murderer of thousands of Muslims in Bosnia. You can be sure that next to come is that all Dutch are “Anti Semitic” murderers, money launderers, greedy traders and criminals, etc. )

      The rhetoric, level of debate and public demonization the Dutch will only become more ugly and disgusting as this moves forward.

      • Whizdom
        January 10, 2014, 1:35 pm

        Something very similar happened in 2003′ when the Dutch put an arrest warrant on Ariel Sharon for war crimes. The Israeli press came out with some of the most vile rhetoric on Dutch hyper racism.

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