HSBC di­vests from Is­raeli de­fence firm

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

THE BRI­TISH bank­ing gi­ant HSBC has di­vested from El­bit Sys­tems, one of Is­rael’s largest de­fence com­pa­nies.

The bank re­port­edly said it “strongly sup­ports ob­ser­vance of in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights prin­ci­ples as they ap­ply to busi­ness” when dis­cussing the move.

The di­vest­ment came fol­low­ing a long-run­ning cam­paign by pro-Pales­tinian ac­tivists to high­light the bank’s fi­nan­cial in­volve­ment with El­bit.

How­ever, HSBC ap­peared to deny it had acted in re­sponse to pres­sure from the boy­cott move­ment, say­ing it did “not take po­si­tions on po­lit­i­cal is­sues”.

In a state­ment posted on its web­site, the pro-BDS Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign (PSC) claimed “bank­ing gi­ant HSBC di­vests from Is­raeli arms man­u­fac­turer fol­low­ing pres­sure from hu­man rights cam­paign­ers”.

Arsen Ostro­vsky, an Is­raeli-based In­ter­na­tional Hu­man Rights lawyer, wrote on Twit­ter: “Hi HSBC… I was just won­der­ing is it only El­bit you are di­vest­ing from, or any other de­fence con­trac­tors around the world?”

PSC claimed more than 24,000 peo­ple had writ­ten to HSBC with “con­cern over its in­vest­ments in El­bit Sys­tems”.

The move came a month af­ter hol­i­day rental web­site Airbnb de­cided to stop list­ing prop­er­ties in West Bank set­tle­ments.

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