US Church’s Boycott of Israeli Banks Shocks and Concerns Tel Aviv

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials have expressed surprise at the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) decision to divest from five Israeli banks on the grounds of human rights concerns.

Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot are among 39 companies blacklisted by the UMC pension fund for failing to meet the guidelines of a human rights investment policy. An Israeli construction company, Shikun & Binui, was also excluded, for its involvement in settlement building.

According to Haaretz newspaper, the US decision is being taken seriously and is causing concern within the Foreign Ministry. It is being considered one of the most dangerous decisions made by a US institution to date regarding the imposition of sanctions on Israeli companies due to their activities in the West Bank.

The newspaper quoted officials in the Israeli Foreign Ministry saying that they are still studying the decision and its consequences. They also said that they will try to make contact with the head of the church in an attempt to push for a withdrawal of the decision or at least reduce its impact.

The UMC is one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States, with an estimated seven million members.


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  1. I agree one hundred percent with the churches decision, Time and time again Israelis have ignored world opinion regarding their actions concerning the West Bank and their apartheid policies towards the Palestinians. It is even more pleasing to see an American church take this action.

  2. Israel needs to be held accountable for its treatment of Palestinians…. We are tired of Netanyahu meddling in our politics and his hard line that has done nothing but bring more sorrow on all peoples concerned. If the Israelies want a war monger for Pres. let them take care of the problems they make for themselves. We need to treat each and every country equally and not favor one over the other; Our foreign policies have been a disaster over the years due to the influence of large corporations … This must stop Elect Bernie Sanders for a change…

  3. ” …to push for a withdrawal of the decision” ???. What needs to be withdrawn is Israeli troops from the West Bank.

    • This is the best news I have heard coming from the UMC Pensions Bd. or whoever the group is that made the decision. After the conference at Ginghamsburg last summer
      (2014), I didn’t expect this.

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