Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 5th, 2014


Investing in Israeli settlements continues “cycle of violence” — Desmond Tutu


Fierce apartheid critic Desmond Tutu has denounced businesses that aid repression. (Joshua Wanyama)

Other victories have received less publicity.

The Swedish fund KPA Pension, for example, has published an exclusion list on its website featuring a number of Israeli banks and telecommunications firms, the weapons manufacturer Elbit and Alstom, a French corporation that has been involved in building a light rail system linking up Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

KPA manages the pensions of more than a million people working in local government.

Sweden’s state pension fund AP7, meanwhile, has excluded the technology giant Hewlett-Packard because of its provision of surveillance technology to Israel, as well as Cemex, a Mexican company which has been quarrying in the West Bank in violation of international law.

Enabling war crimes

AP7 is not as clean as it would have us believe, however.

In August, the Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet complained that AP7 is continuing to invest in3 Israeli banks.

According to the paper, this was not compatible with the views of most Swedes, who wanted pension funds to respect ethical principles.

Similarly, the third largest Dutch pension fund ABP has a €51 million ($64 million) stake in 3 Israel banks: Leumi, Hapoalim and Mizrahi-Tefahot. All three of these banks finance settlements in the West Bank.

The construction of Israeli settlements breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounts to war crimes.

ABP is under pressure to ditch these enablers of war crimes. Around 1.8 million people have signed a petition calling on it to do so.

Desmond Tutu, the South African archbishop, has written to ABP’s board contending that investing in Israeli institutions that lend to repressive and illegal projects “helps perpetuate the cycle of violence.”

“Respect the UN”

ABP could follow the example set by another Dutch pension fund, BPL.

A list published by BPL for 2013 states that it has excluded the three aforementioned Israeli banks, along with Alstom and Veolia (the major player in the East Jerusalem tramway).

Gerard Roest, BPL’s chairman, told me that the decisions to exclude these firms were taken because the fund is guided by international standards on human rights. “The UN is a kind of world government and we should respect its decisions,” he said.

A UN fact finding mission on the Israeli occupation stated last year:

“A number of banks provide mortgage loans for home buyers and special loans for building projects in settlements. They also provide financial services to businesses in settlements and, in some cases, are physically present there.”

Richard Falk, a former UN special rapporteur for the West Bank and Gaza, has warned that “financial institutions and real estate companies may be held criminally accountable for their involvement with illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.”

Pension funds that keep on investing in Israel can be sure that they will come under pressure from people of conscience throughout the world. Support for war crimes will result in damage to their reputations.

Are you wielding a hammer? Are you seeing anything but nails? Mark Twain

For each incident of failure, every “professional” assign a main cause to the deleterious effects, and looks the matter from his own perspective: the banker, marketing strategist, financial expert, writer, journalist… view the incident from his own “circle of competence

If the bankrupt company owner commits suicide, a religious bigot will bring God into the picture for just punishment, the communist will blame the capitalist system, the psychiatrist will recognize a serotonin imbalance at the onset of the acute depressive mood of the suicide person…

If you take your problem to an expert, don’t be surprised if he offers a solution based on his own competence in his own specific field of knowledge. The solution is far from being the best overall resolution.

How to build multiple models inspired from multiple disciplines and methods in order to circumvent this deformation in the “man with the hammer tendency“?

It might take a year to internalize the most important idea of a new field of discipline, and it is worth it.

For example, trying to view the world from a biological model perspective, in addition to your specialized model of your current profession.

From my own experience studying different disciples, what differ are”

1. Adopting different terms (terminology) that you have to find out the corresponding same meaning terms in the other field, just to sound a professional in the discipline.

2. Using a set of paradigms specific for the field, a sort of a mind fix for certain thought processes

3. Applying a few preferred methods and statistical models (statistical packages) to resolve every conceivable problem, even if the package is not appropriate to the purpose.

Basically, the main difficulty is to be flexible and malleable to accommodate the tribe ideosyncratic tendencies.





Blog Stats

  • 1,522,555 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 770 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: