Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Banks Supervisor David Zaken and their top officials believe the bank’s board of directors caved to pressure groups, contrary to its claims.
European bank pulls out of Israel after pressure from boycott campaign
The French bank BNP Paribas has decided to pull out of its operations in Israel, after the bank was targeted by the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which aims to use economic pressure to get Israel to adhere to its obligations under international law.
PNB Paribas will close its offices and lay off sixty employees in Israel, and will end its financing of projects in the Jewish state.
The Governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, told reporters with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that he had met with top executives from PNB Paribas several times, and had exchanged harsh words with them when they announced their decision to leave Israel.
The Bank of Israel is a private institution that prints currency for the Israeli government and regulates interest rates in Israel. It is the successor to the Anglo-Palestine Bank, which carried out those functions until 1948, when the state of Israel was created on the land of historic Palestine.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigners have targeted banks, financial institutions, businesses and universities around the world that have investments in Israel. The movement has compared itself to the anti-apartheid movement against the white South African government in the 1980s. Some of the main organizers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel are South Africans who compare the situation of Palestinians to that of black South Africans under the racist apartheid system. They include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Nelson Mandela, and the largest trade union in South Africa, COSATU.
In recent years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has succeeded in convincing dozens of businesses to pull out of Israel, including the Deutsche Bank divesting from Elbit, a company involved in construction of the Israeli Annexation Wall, the Norwegian government’s divestment from an Israeli security firm, and Harvard University’s decision to divest from Israeli companies.
The group hopes that by using economic pressure, they can convince the Israeli government to end its occupation of Palestinian land and discriminatory laws that target Palestinians.