03 September, 2009

Norwegian pension fund drops Israeli company

Norway's finance minister announced today that the Israeli company Elbit Systems Ltd has been dropped from the national oil fund due to ethical concerns - namely the company's involvement the construction of the Wall on the West Bank. The minister told the press: "We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law."

Selling shares in a company isn't exactly a strong economic sanction, but this is still a pretty powerful statement coming from a European government official. I eagerly await the response from Avigdor Lieberman and all those pundits who has been making claims like this recently: "behind the humanitarian mask that has been has been assiduously nurtured by the Nordic and Scandinavian countries, are a group of society elites, leftist journalists, clergy, employees of non-governmental agencies (NGOs), and politicans, particularly in Sweden and Norway, who have been regularly demonizing Israel and Jews, using classic themes of antisemitism, which have morphed into anti-Israel motifs." 

Those who make those claims rarely (correction: never) bother to provide any proof, of course, and I strongly suspect most of them could hardly even point out Sweden or Norway on a world map.

Update: (via Ali Esbati): The decision to disinvest in Elbit was apparently taken already on June 30 this year, but made public only today, which should kill all speculation that this is somehow a revenge for Israel's criticism last month of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of novelist Knut Hamsun - a celebrated novelist who won the Nobel prize in the 20's but later became infamous and widely condemned for his Nazi sympathies. 

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