“One child has been killed every hour in Gaza over the past two days.”
Kyung-Wha Kang UN Asst. Sec.Gen for Humanitarian Affairs 23-7-14
“All these dead and maimed civilians should weigh heavily on all our consciences. I know that they weigh heavily on mine. All our efforts to protect them have been abject failures”. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
On its New Zealand Now website, the New Zealand (NZ) government truthfully describes the welcoming characteristics of New Zealand as “Open spaces, open hearts, open minds. That’s New Zealand and its people in a nutshell”: a people with “in-built expectations of ‘fair play’, integrity, honesty and trust.” who live in one of “the world’s most peaceful, least corrupt countries”.
And yet..and yet..the NZ government via its New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) has deviously exploited the trust of its citizens and besmeared their good reputation with the blood and suffering of innocent Palestinians.
The NZSF is a progressive universal ‘pension’ scheme to which all taxpaying citizens contribute and from which all retirees over 65 benefit. On members’ behalf, the managerial and administrative Guardians, headed by the arrogant CEO, Adrian Orr, are responsible for the investment decisions which under the ethical standards of the Responsible Investment Framework (RIF) must avoid “prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community”.
“Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” Shakespeare
NZSF’s investments in Israeli companies which profit from Israel’s war crimes and illegal settlement grabs of Palestinian land violates the standards of the RIF and the decent fair play and integrity of its members.
Since Israel’s monstrous war on Gaza in 2014, there have been energetic public demands on NZSF to divest from its portfolio of Israeli companies with emphasis on Israel Chemicals because of the horrific effect of white phosphorus burns on Palestinians such as little Hamza Almidani, 3 – white phosphorus which Adrian Orr deceptively announced is so benign you can clean your teeth with it.
Hamza Mus’ab Almadani
In 2011, NZSF under public pressure properly divested from Elbit which manufactures armed drones that target children, but furtively maintains investments in companies fiscally invested in Elbit ( see below).
Israeli companies and their many subsidiaries have labyrinthine incestuous relationships with each other in the business of death and atrocity. Here are some of the Israeli companies in the NZSF portfolio that have military and/or settlement connections:
Bank Leumi has 18% stake in Israel Chemicals (ICL) which supplies lethal white phosphorus to US Army for ammunitions sold to Israel.
Alony Hetz: “in August 2013 Hetz and JPM Morgan closed a deal to own 88% of US Carr Properties which also announced it has recently acquired a nearly 50 percent stake in One Liberty Center and in Two Liberty Center. One Liberty is fully leased by the Department of Defense. Two Liberty is a 177,046-square-foot building that is also fully leased to tenants including BAE Systems Inc. and Strategic Analysis.” http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2013/08/carr-properties-completes-330-million-in.html
Azrieli: RDC – Rafael Development Corporation Ltd. is based in the Azrieli building in Tel Aviv. RDC is “a unique company based on hi-tech defense technologies developed within Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.” (www.rafael.com), enhanced with the financial capabilities of Elron Electronic Industries Ltd.” https://www.linkedin.com/company/rdc—rafael-development-corporation-ltd-
Israel Bezek: Largest Telecommunications group. The company provides telecommunication services to all of the Israeli settlements, army bases, and checkpoints in the West Bank, and to Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights.
Cellcom Israel Ltd: won an Israel Ministry of Defense tender to supply cellphones.
Delek : “On July 29, 2013, Delek Israel was awarded the Ministry of Defense tender to supply fuel by tankers to IDF bases and provide fueling services for IDF and Ministry of Defense vehicles for three years with an option for the Ministry of Defense to extend the contract for a further two years.”
Clal Insurance: 50% owned by Israel Discount Bank IDB Group. Clal Industries subsidiary Nesher Israel cement Enterprises manufactures and supplies cement to West Bank settlements.
Discount Investment Corporation: holdings include, Elron Electonic Industries has joint ventures with Israel government owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems that develops and produces weapons, military, and defense technologies and Cellcom (see above)
Israel Corp’s major holdings are Israel Chemicals (White phosphorus), Oil Refineries Ltd, “In 2007, 55% of the equity of the company was held by the Ofer Brothers Group, 18% by Bank Leumi and the remainder by the public.
The Israeli government holds the so-called ‘golden share’ in Israel Corp”
Israel Partner Communications Co Ltd: Orange operates in Israel through a franchise agreement with Partner Communications Ltd. Orange profits from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as Partner operates hundreds of communications towers and other infrastructure, much of it on privately owned land confiscated from Palestinians. Orange Israel directly sponsors two Israeli military units, one of which, the Ezuz tank brigade, directly participated in some of the bloodiest incidents in last summer’s assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians.https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/boycott-hit-orange-may-dump-israeli-partner-mid-2017
Melisron Ltd: operates as a subsidiary of Ofer Brothers Properties (1957) Ltd. Mr. Ofer served as a Director of Israel Corporation Ltd. and Israel Chemicals Ltd. Ofer Brothers control Israel Chemicals ( white phosphorus)
Mellanox Ltd : In June 2014 announced its intent to acquire privately-held Integrity Project that was formed out of an elite military technology unit. Mellanox is currently working with many government agencies and organizations: the Department of Energy, NASA (Ames, Goddard, Johnson), US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Postal Service, FBI, DHS, NIH, the EPA and various intelligence agencies. Mellanox also works with the leading systems integrators that serve the federal government, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, CSC and Raytheon which receives $149.3 million contract from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems .http://www.mellanox.com/page/press_release_item?rec_id=884
Migdal Insurance: Elbit’s 3 largest shareholders are Migdal Insurance of Israel, Black Rock Institutional Trust Co. and hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.” http://middleeastrealitycheck.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/vibrancy-innovation-bill-shorten.html
Mizrahi Tefahot Bank: “Around 1.8 million people signed a petition calling on Dutch pension fund ABP to divest from three Israel banks: Leumi, Hapoalim and Mizrahi-Tefahot.which finance constructing housing projects in the settlements in the West Bank.” https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/investing-israeli-settlements-continues-cycle-violence-desmond-tutu
NICE-Systems Ltd: Elbit Systems Ltd. announced July 1, further to its announcement of May 21 2015, that it completed the acquisition of the Cyber and Intelligence division of NICE Systems. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/elbit-systems-completes-the-acquisition-of-the-cyber-and-intelligence-division-of-nice-systems-511161911.html
Osem Ltd: “is owned 51% by Nestlé that currently has a 23.29% ownership in L’Oréal..which has a production site in Israel. Garnier Israel (a L’Oréal brand) sent women in the Israeli army ‘care packages’ during Israel’s military aggression against Gaza in July 2014. Osem, partners with the Jewish National Fund, a group that works with the Israeli government to fund settlements and has participated in the repeated bulldozing of the Bedouin village of Al Araqib .” http://www.alternet.org/world/companies-and-consumer-products-boosting-israels-brutal-occupation
Strauss Group: supports the Israeli army and specifically, the Golani Brigade, an “elite” unit with a history of severe human rights abuses in Israel’s wars on Gaza..https://adalahny.org/document/301/help-end-israel-human-rights-abuses-boycott-israel
TEVA Pharmaceuticals has a plant in Har Hotzvim, beyond the Green Line making it a settlement factory.
NZSF cannot plead ignorance. They have well paid researchers who could quickly provide examples of ethical divestment from Israeli companies in the NZSF portfolio. For example-
Harvard Management Company, in 2010 sold up its shares in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., in NICE Systems Ltd. in Cellcom Israel Ltd. Partner Communications Ltd.
PGGM, the largest Dutch pension fund in January 2014 …” decided to withdraw all its investments from Israel’s five largest banks because they have branches in the West Bank and/or are involved in financing construction in the settlements. [PGGM informed] Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, the First International Bank of Israel and Israel Discount Bank that their ties with the settlements, and/or companies involved in building in the settlements, created a problem from the standpoint of international law…”
Investment in Israel’s military and occupation is irrefutably inhumane and shows a level of indifference to human suffering that is impossible for any decent person to understand. Israel is a military economy which according to Yotam Feldman’s documentary, The Lab uses “current military operations [against Gaza] as a promotional device” and a place to test its weaponry to boost profits from its sales. Investors and buyers, in Israel’s military industry are complicit in the slaughter of innocent lives, in the maiming of once whole Palestinian children and adults and in the trauma and grief without end like the Gaza student who placed his graduation gown and cap on the grave of his mother murdered last year.
Apart from their illegality, zionist settlements are the breeding grounds of Israeli radicalism that perpetrates vicious ‘pricetag’ attacks that recently included the fatal immolation of toddler Ali Dawabsheh, 18 months, and his father Saad. Ali’s brother Ahmad, 5 is bandaged from head to foot and his mother, Riham, remains in a coma.
To the members of the NZSF, contributors and beneficiaries, please enter Humanize Palestine where Palestinian lives extinguished forever by Israel are transformed “back to life through their pictures, stories, art, and poetry” and then demand that NZSF immediately divests from Israeli state terrorism.
Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.