[Marxism] Norway divests

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 23 16:26:50 MDT 2010

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel


Norway Divests from Leviev Companies Due to Israeli Settlement Construction

Media Contact: info at adalahny.org

For Immediate Release

August 23, New York, NY – In a major victory for the international 
movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, the 
Norwegian government announced today that it has divested from Lev 
Leviev’s company Africa Israel Investments and its construction 
subsidiary Danya Cebus due to their construction of Israeli settlements 
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The move followed a campaign of 
more than a year by affected Palestinian villages of Bil’in and Jayyous 
and by Norwegian, Palestinian, Israeli, and international activist 
groups, including Adalah-NY, calling on the Norwegian government to 
divest from Africa Israel.

The companies of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev have been the target of 
a boycott campaign that led UNICEF and Oxfam to renounce donations from 
Leviev, the British government to sever business ties with Leviev, 
celebrities to seek distance from him, and divestment by other major 
investment firms .

Mohammed Khatib representing the West Bank village of Bil’in’s Popular 
Committee Against the Wall and Settlements commented, "We've achieved 
another major victory in our struggle of protests and boycotts against 
Israeli apartheid. On April 21st, 2009 we wrote the government of Norway 
calling for them to divest from Africa Israel because it is one company 
that built the settlement of Mattityahu East on Bil'in's land, and they 
responded that they were investigating. It is victories like this that 
demonstrate our commitment to continue our struggle for justice, despite 
Israel's efforts to crush it through a campaign of arrests and 
intimidation, targeting activists like Abdallah Abu Rahmah from Bil’in 
who will be sentenced tomorrow for being an organizer." Palestinian 
protest and boycott organizers like Abu Rahmah, Khatib, Mohammad Othman 
from Jayyous and Jamal Juma’ have all been arrested recently by Israel 
for their nonviolent activities, and Israel’s Knesset is reviewing a 
bill to criminalize pro-boycott activities by Israeli citizens.

In addition to divesting from Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus, 
the Norwegian Government announced divestment from the Malaysian Company 
Samling Global over its forestry operations.  The Norwegian government 
had previously divested from the Israeli company Elbit Systems , due to 
its role in building Israel’s wall in the Occupied West Bank in 
violation of international law. The Norwegian government is maintaining 
its holdings in another Africa Israel subsidiary, Africa Israel 
Properties, saying it is not directly involved in settlement construction.

Riham Barghouti from Adalah-NY explained, “I met with a senior advisor 
from Norway’s Council on Ethics at their Oslo offices in May, 2010 to 
encourage them to divest from Africa Israel. So I’m glad to see that the 
Norwegian government has upheld its commitment to international law, and 
we encourage them to continue reviewing and divesting from other 
companies in their portfolio that are complicit in Israeli apartheid, 
including Africa Israel Properties.”

Jamal Juma’, the Coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign and a member 
of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee, noted, "We appreciate the 
Norwegian Finance Ministry's commitment to upholding international law 
through continuing to divest from companies profiting from Israel's 
oppression of the Palestinian people. It is a significant milestone in 
the Palestinian-led BDS movement aimed at holding Israel accountable for 
its violations of international and humanitarian law. We hope that the 
Norwegian Pension fund will fully divest from Israeli crimes through 
severing links with all Israeli companies and international companies 
complicit with Israeli violations of international law, and hope that 
other governments follow the lead of Norway until Israel ends its 
oppression and occupation of the Palestinian people."

On April 21, 2009, Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and 
Settlements sent a letter to Norway’s Council on Ethics calling for 
Norway to divest from Africa Israel. The West Bank village of Jayyous 
where a different Leviev company, Leader Management and Development, is 
building the Zufim settlement, followed with a May 4th letter calling on 
Norway to divest. On May 11, 2009, eleven organizations from Norway, 
Europe, Palestine, Israel and the US sent a letter to Norway’s Council 
on Ethics supporting the letters from Bil’in and Jayyous.

Sharif Omar of Jayyous’ Land Defence Committee added, “We welcome this 
decision by the Norwegian government to divest from some of Leviev’s 
companies. But another Leviev company, Leader Management and 
Development, continues today to build settlements on Jayyous’ land. We 
call for additional international action to pressure these companies and 
the Israeli government to end construction and return our stolen farmland.”

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