Anti-Israel activist South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked the world’s third-largest pension fund, the Dutch ABP, to “strike a powerful, non-violent blow for peace in the Middle East” by divesting from three Israeli banks.
An ABP spokeswoman confirmed that the fund will consider Tutu’s request, as well as a request from the Dutch lobby group Christians for Israel to continue investing in the banks.
The three Israeli banks in question are Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. ABP has about 51 million euros ($67 million) worth of holdings in the banks.
In a letter to ABP, Tutu wrote that investing in the banks enables “the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories, and profit from the illegal seizure of this land.”
“Your Board has a choice—continue to turn a blind eye to the facts and claim ABP investments are somehow ring-fenced from bolstering Israel’s occupation, or join the growing movement towards divestment, which will reduce the company’s risk, respect international law and strike a powerful, non-violent blow for peace in the Middle East,” wrote Tutu, Reuters reported.
Another Dutch pension fund, PGGM, in January pulled investments from five Israeli banks, including the three named named in Tutu’s letter to ABP.