South Africa’s Archbishop Tutu urges Dutch pension fund to divest from Israeli banks

Aug 27 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Wednesday urged Dutch pension fund ABP, the world’s third largest, to “strike a powerful, non-violent blow for peace in the Middle East” by divesting from three Israeli banks.

An ABP spokeswoman said the management board would discuss Tutu’s appeal at its monthly meeting on Thursday, alongside a letter from “Christians for Israel,” a Dutch lobby group which wants the fund to remain invested in the Israeli banks.

ABP, which had 309 billion euros ($408 billion) invested worldwide at the end of 2013, has nearly three million members in the Netherlands and holdings totalling about 51 million euros in the three Israeli banks – Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.

Tutu, one of the champions of South Africa’s struggle for democracy, said in his letter to the ABP board which was also published online that the fund’s investments “enable the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories, and profit from the illegal seizure of this land”…

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