IJAN-TC Supports Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign

The members of IJAN-Twin Cities are active members of Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign, a state-wide campaign to urge the state of Minnesota to divest from its State of Israel Bonds. Among other activities, we spent many hours during 2011 meeting with legislators to request that they co-sponsor a bill requiring the State Board of Investment (SBI) to divest. These legislators invariably would tell us that they have no control over the investments that the SBI makes and we should be speaking to them. We did not leave that stone unturned and had also been meeting with the administrators of the SBI, who all told us that they make lawful investments, that they have no fiduciary responsibility to consider the ethics of their investments, and that if we want to disallow these investments, we should be speaking to the legislators.

Members of the MN BBC Core group then made the discovery that the investments are already illegal under Minnesota law. The statute allows only certain foreign investments, including Canadian government securities, but Israeli bonds are not included (nor are any other country’s bonds). Interestingly, when the state of Minnesota divested from Sudan and Iran, the legislation only mentioned private corporations which did work in those countries. No mention of government bonds needed to be made, since those investments were already illegal.

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