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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘PGGM’

Israel Summons Dutch Ambassador over Divestments in his Country

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

For the second time in less than a month, Israel demanded clarifications from the Netherlands on Dutch firms’ divestment from Israel.

On Friday, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Dutch ambassador to Israel, Caspar Veldkamp, to provide clarifications on the decision of PGGM, a large pensions administrator, to divest from five Israeli banks because of their activities in West Bank settlements.

During the meeting between Veldkamp and Raphael Schutz, the ministry’s deputy director general on European affairs, Schutz told the ambassador that PGGM’s decision is “unacceptable and relies on false pretense,” according to a statement by the ministry.

Israel expected the Netherlands “in the spirit of friendship between our countries, to take an unequivocal stance against such steps, which only wreak damage to the relations,” the statement read.

On Dec. 12, the ministry summoned Kamp to a meeting after a decision by the Dutch water company Vitens to pull the plug on joint projects with Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, because of its operations in what the Netherlands considers occupied territory.

On Thursday, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said that while the Netherlands is opposed to a boycott of Israel, its policy is to discourage Dutch businesses from conducting business with Israeli settlements.

Kees van der Staaij, a pro-Israel lawmaker, said he would seek clarifications from the minister on what van der Staaij termed “a boycott atmosphere.”

On its website, the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, one of the country’s main pro-Israel groups, said that the “unclear policy of discouragement is threatening to turn into a boycott of Israel.”

Dutch Funds Divest from Israeli Banks but not from Occupied Tibet

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

A Dutch pension administrator has divested from five Israeli banks over their activity in the Judea and Samaria as a matter of “responsible investment policy” but it retains its investments in Chinese banks operating in Tibet on land widely seen internationally as land occupied by China.

The pension investment company PGGM announced its decision to divest from Bank HaPoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank on Tuesday on its website.

The text cited the banks’ “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 had a marginal investment of several dozen millions of dollars in Israeli banks out of billions it invests all over the world, according to the NRC Handelsblad daily. The paper reported PGGM was Holland’s second-largest pension administrator.

In its statement, the company also cited its “responsible investment policy,” which excludes investing in bodies involved in “violations of fundamental human rights and labor rights.”

But according to a document released by the company in 2013, PGGM investments abroad include two Chinese banks – Bank of China and China Construction Bank — with offices and activities in Tibet, which is widely seen internationally as land occupied by China. PGGM also invests in China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, which is exploring for oil in Tibet.

PGGM’s international investments also include the Malaysian palm oil producer Sime Darby, which last year paid a million dollars in reparations to villagers in Liberia amid accusations that the firm had violated their human rights and confiscated their property.

PGGM spokesperson Maurice Wilbrink declined to answer JTA’s questions on the scope of his company’s investments in Chinese firms active in Tibet, explaining the figures were confidential.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dutch-funds-divest-from-israeli-banks-but-not-from-occupied-tibet/2014/01/08/

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