Divestment movement targets MN State Board of Investment
Minneapolis, MN – Dozens of activists, students and community members packed Mayday Books on February 2 for an informational panel on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and how it relates to Minnesota’s State Board of Investments (SBI). BDS is an international movement started by a coalition of Palestinian civil societies to put pressure on Israel to end apartheid and the occupation of Palestine. The panel focused attention on the SBI’s involvement in the funding of atrocities against Palestine and its people and the ways in which the masses abroad can engage in meaningful boycotts.
Brain Chval of the Anti-War Committee states “The Israeli regime of settler colonialism, apartheid and military occupation depends on its survival and strength based on the complicity of states, corporations and institutions that deal with it as if it were normal.”
Chval continued, “The SBI is heavily invested in the industry of apartheid, starting with the state of Israel itself – $25 million invested in the state in the form of bonds as direct loans.” Another beneficiary, Elbit Systems, Israel's largest weapons and arms company, receives $1.2 million from the SBI.
Lucia Wilkes Smith of Women Against Military Madness is a retired public school teacher whose pension is handled by the SBI. “I feel really personally implicated in these violations of human rights and the violence against Palestinian people. As person who has income through that pension fund, I resent that.”
Sana Wazwaz of American Muslims for Palestine spoke on the importance of the boycott of Israeli dates and how this niche campaign has made substantial impacts on the market share of Israel imports of the fruit to the U.S., stating, “In 2015 the market share was 25% and in 2021 it has dropped to 16%,” adding, “it’s a quantifiable decrease that shows us just how much this boycott works.”
The Anti-War Committee’s next action around divesting Minnesota’s SBI from Israel is a protest on Saturday, February 25 at 1 p.m. at the Governor's Mansion in Saint Paul. All are welcome to attend.
You can find out more about the international BDS movement at: https://bdsmovement.net/