Dutch Pension Fund ABP Says No to Boycott

YERUSHALAYIM -

A major European pension has veered away from the boycott of Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

The Dutch pension fund ABP, one of the largest in the world, announced Wednesday that after a review of the issue, it had decided to continue its ties with three Israeli banks.

The fund said that its environmental, social and corporate governance policy (ESG) follows two main criteria: international law and the principles laid down in the UN Global Compact, which sets forth guidelines for businesses in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

The fund said that these matters are discussed each year by its directorate, and that it has concluded that the Israeli banks in question – Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, and Mizrahi-Tefahot — “do not act contrary to international law and regulations,” and that there were no court rulings that indicated otherwise.

ABP is a pension fund for some 2.8 million government, public and education workers with invested capital last year of some 292 billion euro.

ABP’s decision was by no means a foregone conclusion. In January, another Dutch pension firm, PGGM, announced it was divesting from five Israeli banks because “of their involvement in financing Israeli [communities over the Green Line].”

Danske Bank, the largest in Denmark, recently stated on its website that it was boycotting Bank Hapoalim for “legal and ethical” reasons.