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UK pension fund divests from Israel arms manufacturer

February 12, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Protest calling to stop supplying arms to the Israeli military [Palestine Solidarity Campaign]

East Sussex Pension Fund has divested from Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer Elbit Systems, months after human rights activists lobbied the fund to bring an end to its ties to companies which violate international law.

Since May 2020, campaigners have flooded council meetings with over 60 letters demanding the fund divests from Elbit, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said in a statement today.

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer and has produces a range of weaponry deployed by the Israeli occupation forces to murder or maim Palestinians including drones used during the 2014 war on Gaza.

Elbit has been subject to widespread divestment by a range of investors, including financial institutions HSBC after sustained campaigning, AXA and ABN Amro, and a range of European pension funds, including in Norway, Holland and Sweden.

Lewis Backon, Campaigns Officer at Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said: “The exclusion of Elbit Systems is a great victory for scheme members in East Sussex. Elbit produceweapons that are used repeatedly in Israel’s war crimes against the civilian population of besieged Gaza. But the fund must go further and commit to exclude any company complicit in Israel’s violations of international law.”

Aidan Pettitt, scheme member of East Sussex Pension Fund said: “I’m relieved no more of my deferred wages will be invested in Elbit Systems, whose weapons are used to oppress Palestinian civilians. Going forward, the fund must act to ensure members’ wages aren’t  invested in companies aiding Israel’s grave abuses of Palestinian human rights.”

East Sussex Pension Fund had not responded to MEMO request for comment by time of publication.

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