7 February 2019
Nya Bashir, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
Dundee SPSC welcomes the confirmation from Dundee City Council that Tayside Pension Fund no longer invests our pension fund in Bank Hapoalim.
Tayside Pension Fund have not been forthcoming with why they have had this turn around but no doubt that due to the combined efforts of SPSC and Unison Time to Divest campaign Tayside Pension Fund have made this welcome decision to divest from a bank which capitalises on the illegal settlements of palestinian lands.
Statement from Unison Dundee branch International Officer, Ryan Fitzpatrick:
Following a period of campaigning, we welcome the news that Tayside Pension Fund no longer invests local authority pension funds in Bank Hapoalim, an Israeli bank. By operating and financing state infrastructure within illegal settlements upon occupied Palestinian land, Hapoalim maintains a vested interest in the brutal subjugation of Palestinian people by the Israeli state. Tayside Pension Fund was duly complicit in this state of affairs. Therefore, as part of Unison’s “Time to Divest” campaign, branch International Officer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, wrote to the chair of the Tayside Pension Fund committee, Baillie Willie Sawers, and the Leader of Angus Council, Councillor David Fairweather, to highlight the issue and call for the fund to publicly divest from Hapoalim. Despite being sent in October, no reply was received to either letter. In response, the branch and other concerned local activists agreed a collaborative effort to escalate campaigning, of which planning was at an early stage. Fortuitously, the Dundee branch of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign submitted a fresh information request to check the investment remained live. In response, Dundee City Council clarified that the pension fund indeed no longer invests in Hapoalim bank. That decision appears to have been made unceremoniously, despite many people across Dundee and Angus raising the issue with their respective councillors, who either never replied or fobbed them off. We may speculate as to the cause of the turnaround and why this was not communicated to those who raised concerns. Nevertheless, we recognise this is a positive decision by the Tayside Pension Fund, which is no longer capitalising on the oppression of Palestinians. We trust that they will continue to uphold their ethical responsibilities in this regard. In the meantime, the branch committee expresses our thanks and solidarity to Nya Bashir of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign for her efforts in drawing this matter to a successful conclusion.