Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Is your state holding Israel bonds?

There is a very interesting article in the current issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (April) on the effort of a group of Minnesotans to have their state divest itself of the Israel bonds that it holds (you need to be a subscriber to read the current issue).

As with so much regarding Israel - this bond purchasing by Minnesota is exceptional. It's exceptional because Minnesota law forbids investments with foreign governments. Though an exception is specified for Canada, Israel is not mentioned.

The United States supports international law. Israel violates international law in the occupied territories. The United States opposes Israeli settlement. Israel uses government funding for settlement and Israel bonds are a source of government funds.

So Minnesota is funding Israeli settlement activity but passing it under the radar of state law. In that state, there are four people who make decisions on bond purchases in their capacity as the State Board of Investment (SBI), they are the governor, the attorney general, the secretary of state and the state auditor.

The group attempting to hold Minnesota responsible for what it does is the Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign.

I checked and found that Illinois is a purchaser of Israel bonds as well. I don't know Illinois state law on investments in foreign governments, but I intend to find out.

Finding out may be a challenge. My state representative is a big supporter of Israel so I doubt that the information will be getting to me soon if at all through her, but this is a perfect example of how benefits to Israel are woven into the woodwork in the United States.

Oh, did I mention my state senator is a big supporter of Israel? Did I mention my Congresswoman is too? Surely I've mentioned that one of my senators, Mark Kirk, is AIPAC's poster boy? Did I mention that my other senator, Dick Durban, entered Congress years ago with the help of AIPAC?

Wherever you live in the United States, make it a point to find out how your own politicians stand on Israel. Even if they have no particular view on that foreign country, you can bet that the Israel lobby has a tally on how they vote. There is no lobby in opposition to AIPAC, so you may find that regardless of your own view, your political representatives are cheerfully voting the Israel line. It's a bad habit of U.S. national politicians (and it appears state pols too) that the American electorate needs to break.

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