Search This Blog

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Rage in Israel as BNP Paribas pressured to pull out with BDS claiming credit

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.

The powers that be are furious at BNP Paribas for shuttering its operations in Israel, and suspect it is acting due to Arab and anti-Israeli pressure in France, the bank’s home base.
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.
This is the first case in years of a foreign bank leaving Israel. BNP Paribas has had operations in Israel since 2003. Most of its business here involved financing large projects that involve French companies.
The bank recently decided to shut down its local offices and dismiss its 60 employees. The bank claims this is because it sustained serious damage from the Greek crisis. Yet the only foreign branch it’s closing is its Israeli one, even though BNP Paribas has branches all over the world, including in Israel’s neighbor countries.
The French bank is leaving a very limited representation in Israel. It does not need the Bank of Israel’s approval for this, even though its operations are still supervised by the central bank.
Fischer and Zaken held several harsh discussions with BNP Paribas executives, which brought no results, and also denounced the bank’s actions in internal meetings. Fischer reportedly said that one of his goals as Israel’s chief banker was to convince large foreign banks to do business in Israel. There is no reason for BNP Paribas to leave, he reportedly said.
The Bank of Israel said it could not comment on a specific bank.

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.
BDS Movement logo
BDS Movement logo
Although the bank stated that its withdrawal from Israel was not due to the pressure campaign, but instead due to heavy losses sustained during the Greek financial crisis, Israeli officials and bankers have stated that they believe the bank gave in to pressure from European human rights groups to pull out of Israel.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment