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MINNESOTA BREAK THE BONDS CAMPAIGN APPEALS
DISMISSAL OF ISRAEL BONDS LAWSUIT
[St. Paul] MN Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC), a statewide campaign aimed at stopping the State of Minnesota from investing in Israel’s human rights and international law violations, along with several other individual and organizational plaintiffs, will file an appeal on the second anniversary of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla, May 31, 2012. The appeal* asks the Minnesota Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court ruling dismissing the group’s lawsuit against the State Board of Investment (SBI).
The lawsuit, filed in late 2011, contends that the SBI’s investments of millions of dollars in Israel Bonds are unlawful and imprudent. It alleges that the SBI’s statutory authorization to invest public employee pension funds, found in Section 11A.24 of the Minnesota Statutes, does not authorize the SBI to invest in Israel Bonds and that the SBI has done so unlawfully and with impunity. The lawsuit further alleges that the SBI’s investments in Israel Bonds are providing substantial material support for Israel’s human rights violations, including its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories which have been universally condemned as violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The lawsuit further alleges that the SBI’s material support of Israel’s human rights abuses exposes the SBI and ultimately Minnesota taxpayers to lawsuits brought against them by victims of Israel’s human rights abuses.
Judge Margaret Marrinan had ruled in the lower court that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the lawsuit, that the language of the Minnesota Statute in question allowed the SBI to invest in any governmental bond of any country in the world; that this is a “political question” best left to other branches of government to decide; and that merely investing millions of dollars in the government bonds of another country, regardless of that country’s human rights record, is not sufficient to prove that the SBI is aiding and abetting human rights violations.
MN BBC believes that the lower court ruling is seriously flawed and that the appeal has exceptional merit. Minnesota law gives taxpayers and state pension plan beneficiaries standing to challenge the SBI’s investment decisions. MN BBC includes members meeting both criteria. The Minnesota Statute in question clearly does not permit the SBI to invest state funds in Israel’s government bonds and making an exception for Israel allows for other absurd exceptions. Further, the lawfulness of the SBI’s fiscal decisions is subject to court review. It is not a “political question.” Finally MN BBC contends that providing substantial material assistance to Israel’s illegal activities is sufficient to expose Minnesota and its taxpayers to claims and lawsuits.
MN BBC is a group of Palestinians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, students, professionals, parents, community members and allies working together to promote equality, justice and human rights by educating Minnesota communities about injustices being suffered by Palestinians. MN BBC believes that the people of Minnesota have the moral obligation to make sound investments that will not aid the oppression of any race, creed or people. Copies of the lawsuit and the appeal are available to the press and are linked below.
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