Elbit Systems and Anti-Israel Boycotts
In late December, it was reported that HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, announced that it had “liquidated its holdings in the Israeli firm Elbit Systems due to public pressure orchestrated by the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, according to a statement by Britain’s Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.”
According to one account, HSBC decided to divest “following a year-long campaign that included regular demonstrations in front of the bank’s 40 branches in Britain and emails from 24,000 people.”
Elbit Systems is publicly traded in the United States and Israel; the company is an Israeli-based international defense outfit that employs nearly 14,000 people. It is active in developing new technologies for defense, homeland security, and commercial aviation applications, as well as others.
Who Profits — a radical Israeli non-profit — built a website with a database on all the companies that have investments or involvement in enterprises located over the Green Line, or in Israeli security companies in general. The site encourages international firms and foreign governments to divest from such companies, including Elbit.
Who Profits’ activities have included sending a letter to the Norwegian government in 2009 — when the New Israel Fund (NIF) was giving them money — demanding divestment from Elbit Systems, due to its involvement in the construction of the Israeli security fence. The Norwegian government eventually decided to divest from Elbit. Signatures to that letter included other organizations funded by the New Israel Fund — including Machsom Watch, Mossawa, and Social Television Syncopa.
There’s also evidence that organizations supported by the NIF were integral in influencing Airbnb to remove listings for homes in Israeli “settlements.” Shame on the funders of the New Israel Fund. Those who support Israel — and decent people everywhere — must oppose all anti-Israel boycotts, and disassociate themselves from the NIF.
Ronn Torossian is one of the most well-respected public relations professionals in America. Under his leadership, 5WPR has grown into one of the 15 largest independent PR firms in the nation, with more than 150 professionals in the company’s headquarters in the iconic Helmsley Building in Manhattan.