Since January, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for the economic and cultural isolation of Israel until it complies with international law on Palestinian rights, has seen a lot of action. In January, the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) announced its decision to divest from five Israeli banks it said failed to meet its 2015 investment criteria based on human rights and excessive sustainability risks.
According to the GBPHB, holdings in Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank were all sold because of their financial involvement in Jewish-only Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Al Jazeera approached Colette Nies, the managing director of communications for the GBPHB, who declined to comment further on the divestment and pointed to several press releases stressing that the Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant church in the US with 13 million members, is “not divesting” from Israel entirely. READ MORE