Latest; In April 2021 it was announced that the value of investments in companies complicit in Israel's war crimes had been reduced by £40 million. That's a 36% reduction. However, this leaves more than £71 million invested in complicit companies. The investments that remain in the portfolio are listed here.

The East Sussex Pension Fund drops Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems
and offloads 9 other companies complicit in Israel's violations of international law: Bank Hapoalim, Paz Oil Company, Israel Discount Bank, Bezeq Communications, Delek Group, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, First International Bank, Mercantile Discount Bank and TripAdvisor

Press release from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign dated 12 February 2021: Link here.

East Sussex Pension Fund divests funds from complicit Israeli company after lobbying by scheme members and campaigners

  • Council's Head of Pensions says they have divested from Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems
  • Divestment follows months of lobbying by scheme members and Palestinian human rights campaigners
  • Scheme members say fund must go further to fully discharge its obligation to end complicity in Israel's violations of international law
  • Campaign victory follows the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum's decision to engage with companies complicit in Israel's violations of international law

    East Sussex Pension Fund has revealed that it has divested funds from Elbit Systems, Israel's largest private arms manufacturer. This follows months of pressure by scheme members and supporters of Palestinian human rights who have lobbied the fund to divest from companies complicit in Israel's violations of international law, including Elbit Systems. Since May 2020, campaigners have flooded council meetings with over 60 letters demanding the fund divests from Elbit.

    Elbit Systems is Israel's largest private arms manufacturer. It produces a range of weaponry deployed by the Israeli occupation army to murder or maim Palestinians. Elbit Systems' Hermes 900 drones were among Israel's drones that murdered 164 Palestinian children in Gaza in 2014.

    Elbit has been subject to widespread divestment by a range of investors, including financial institutions HSBC after sustained campaigning led by PSC and War on Want, AXA and ABN Amro, and a range of European pension funds, including in Norway, Holland and Sweden.

    In April 2020, PSC won a victory in the battle to defend the right to take action in the UK in support of Palestinian rights, overturning government guidance that restricted the ability of local authority pension funds to divest from companies violating human rights and international law.

    Since then, scheme members, their representative trade unions, and supporters of human rights have been lobbying funds to take action and implement adequate screening and due diligence policies to address their complicit investments.

    The campaign has been taking strides forward. In its engagement report for Quarter 4 of 2020 the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), which includes the vast majority of LGPS funds and pool companies, began engagement with companies cited on the UN Human Rights Office's list of business enterprises active in Israel's illegal settlements, based on stolen Palestinian land.

    Campaigners have welcomed ESPF's exclusion of Elbit Systems but say the fund must go further, to ensure all companies complicit in Israel's violations of international law are excluded from their full portfolio.

    Lewis Backon, Campaigns Officer at Palestine Solidarity Campaign commented:

    "The exclusion of Elbit Systems is a great victory for scheme members in East Sussex. Elbit produce weapons that are used repeatedly in Israel's war crimes against the civilian population of besieged Gaza. But the fund must go further and commit to exclude any company complicit in Israel's violations of international law."

    Aidan Pettitt, Scheme Member of East Sussex Pension Fund said:

    "I'm relieved no more of my deferred wages will be invested in Elbit Systems, whose weapons are used to oppress Palestinian civilians. Going forward, the fund must act to ensure members' wages aren't invested in companies aiding Israel's grave abuses of Palestinian human rights."

    The PSC database of companies that aid Israel's violations of international law
    The database originally identified East Sussex Pension Fund investments in 63 companies complicit in Israel's violations of international law. These investments were valued at £111,005,766 (as of late 2020).

    While the dropping of 10 companies is to be welcomed, this still leaves numerous complicit companies in the portfolio. This includes:

    Raytheon (£839,378). Raytheon produces bunker buster bombs that have been used by Israel to target civilian homes in Gaza.
    Lockheed Martin (£1,651,325) provides Israel with F-16 fighter jets.
    Thales (£2,891,070) produces the armoured Watchkeeper WK 450 Drone.
    BAE Systems (£4,002,736) has a workshare agreement with Lockheed Martin to produce the US F-35 stealth combat aircraft. Israel took delivery of its first F-35 in 2016. BAE has worked in cooperation with Lockheed Martin and Rafael to produce and market the naval Protector drone used to maintain the siege of Gaza along the Mediterranean coast.
    Boeing (£2,588,358) manufacturers the Apache attack helicopter. These helicopters played a prominent role in Israel's 2006 Invasion of Southern Lebanon which killed nearly 2000 civilians.
    Caterpillar (£1,393,434) supplies the Israeli military with D9 bulldozers which are used to demolish Palestinian homes, schools, villages and civilian infrastructure, including sewage and water pipes - in order to make way for illegal Israeli settlements.
    G4S (£486,313) helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial.
    General Electric (£3,477,170) General Electric's engines are used in Israel's military Apache and Sea-Hawk helicopters and F-16 and F-15 fighter jets.
    Hewlett Packard (HP) (£637,677) HP Inc. is the exclusive provider of computers to the Israeli military, HP Enterprise provides servers and technology used in Israeli prisons.
    Honeywell (£2,128,615) supplies components for Israeli military bombs and supplies engines for the Israeli jet aircraft trainer fleet.
    L3 Harris (£638,669) in association with Elbit systems assembled the Hermes 900 UAV, a lethal drone that was used during the attacks on Gaza in the summer of 2014. It supplies screening and scanning machines used at checkpoints.
    Northrop Grumman (£280,511) supplies the Israeli Air Force with the Longbow missile delivery system for its Apache helicopters and with laser weapon delivery systems for its fighter jets. It has also supplied the Israeli navy with Sa'ar V missile gunships.

    21 February 2021