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Judge Throws Out Suit Calling on Minnesota to Divest its Israeli Bonds

Judge Margaret Marrinan and the Ramsey County courthouse.

Judge Margaret Marrinan and the Ramsey County courthouse.
Photo Credit: Minnesota Judicial Branch website

MinnPost reports that Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan has dismissed a lawsuit looking to force the state of Minnesota to sell the $18 million in Israeli bonds which is held in its portfolio.

Four groups and 23 individuals filed the lawsuit in 2011, arguing that the bonds were supporting settlements that had been deemed illegal under international law.

They also argued that Minnesota law does not allow investments in foreign countries other than Canada.

Judge Marrinan threw out the suit, ruling that the plaintiffs do not have standing to file it, stating that “the authority to make social, political and economic policy decisions of the kind Plaintiffs complain about in this case resides with the Legislature and the SBI [State Board of Investment], not this Court.”

Tthe judge noted that even if the plaintiffs did have standing, Minnesota law permits the Minnesota Board of Investment to purchase international securities wherever it sees fit.

Steve Hunegs, executive director of Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, issued the following statement:

“Divesting from the State of Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, one of our nation’s strongest allies, and an important trading partner for the State of Minnesota, is wrong. Minnesota’s investment in Israel reflects Israel’s strength in high technology, medical research, and agricultural innovation, which benefits all the people of Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world.

“Minnesota’s long standing investment in Israel bonds dates back to 1993.  The State’s support for Israel and its investment in Israel bonds is bipartisan and has been supported by successive governors from Gov. Arne Carlson to Gov. Mark Dayton.”

District Judge Margaret Marrinan apparently possesses the gift of gab. Last year, when she presided over the Jury conviction of a St. Paul priest accused of sexual misconduct, the defense attorney said he would seek a probationary sentence, to which judge Marrinan responded: “The court will direct the defendant to bring his toothbrush” when he appears for sentencing…

About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.


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