Demos Call for a Sell-Off of Israel Bonds
by Stanley Heller and Shelly Altman, JVP (New Haven)
Protests against the trip to Washington, DC by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich took place in twelve cities on March 12, including New Haven. Smotrich, who describes himself as a “fascist homophobe,” achieved special notoriety for calling for the Palestinian town of Huwara to be wiped out. He came to the U.S. to hustle for Israel Bonds.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) nationally called for demonstrations. New Haven held one, though it made sure it wasn’t in competition with the St. Patrick’s Day parade going on that afternoon. About 20 people gathered in front of the Giaimo Federal Building early that Sunday morning with signs denouncing Smotrich, but more importantly calling for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and the selling off of Israel Bonds and other Israeli investments. The largest banner said, “Sell Off Your Israel Bonds and Other Investments in Apartheid.”
A few days later a second demonstration was held, this one in Hartford in front of the state office building housing the Treasury. Connecticut owns $10 million in Israel Bonds and about $100 million more in other Israeli stocks and securities. Among the 150 companies, 22 are particularly offensive, being involved with spying on activists and working on military projects. One is Elbit, Israel’s biggest weapons company. People came from around the state, not only Jews, but people notified of the action by the other event sponsors: the Middle East Crisis Committee, the Tree of Life Education Fund and Workers’ Voice. The new State Treasurer Erick Russell has not responded to letters or this protest so far. He can be reached at [email protected]
Where is all this money the state uses for investments coming from? Overwhelmingly it’s from state employees and school teachers. A portion of their pay is deducted each pay period and put in the Treasury. It’s highly doubtful that these workers know that some of their money goes to prop up Israeli apartheid.
The tactic of BDS got a new wrinkle these past weeks. Israeli leaders have constantly screamed about BDS saying boycotts are “existential threats” to Israel, in fact, “economic terrorism.” In their fight against Netanyahu’s attack on the Israeli High Court, several hundred U.S. Jewish business leaders have threatened to take their money out of Israel! They’re afraid to invest in a country without a court system that could protect business interests. Billions are at stake. If the threat were to be carried out, that would be BDS on steroids. Zionists like the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) pretend this is absolutely and completely different than BDS for Palestinian human rights. Sheer hypocrisy.
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