MN BBC to MN SBI: Don’t Reinvest in Human Rights Abuses!

Please come to the next quarterly meeting of the State Board of Investment on Wednesday, March 4 at 10:00 am in the State Board of Investment building, 60 Empire Drive, Room 106, St. Paul. (Come early and pick up a sign.)

Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC) announces that former Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota (D-SD, 1973-1979) (US House of Rep., 1971-1973) will be addressing the quarterly meeting of the Minnesota State Board of Investment (SBI). “I intend to call attention to Israel’s repeated bullying by using money from Minnesota’s Israel Bond sales to kill, wound and imprison helpless Palestinians. I’m certain that Minnesotans do not intend that their hard earned tax money should go to the Israeli military’s brutalizing [of] Palestinian people,” says Abourezk, the first US Senator of Arab descent and the founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States.

Comprised of Minnesota’s top four constitutional officers and chaired by Governor Dayton, the SBI manages the investment of Minnesota’s $74 billion pool of public employee retirement funds.

For more than six years, MN BBC has attempted to persuade the SBI to divest its holdings in Israel Bonds which are unrestricted loans to the government of Israel. Israel uses the money from the sale of Israel Bonds to construct settlements on Palestinian land and build apartheid separation barriers, including a massive separation wall, among other actions that violate international law. The SBI’s Israel Bond investments will be maturing on July 1. At the SBI’s September 2014 meeting, Governor Dayton announced that the board would consider whether to reinvest in Israel Bonds when it meets at its March 4 meeting.

MN BBC and its supporters are urging the SBI not to reinvest in Israel’s human rights abuses. In addition to Senator Abourezk’s appearance on their behalf at the March 4 meeting, MN BBC will be submitting a petition signed by over a thousand Minnesotans from many different backgrounds.

Because of his leadership role in a community organization that has advocated for the purchase of Israel Bonds, MN BBC has requested that Secretary of State Steve Simon recuse himself from the SBI’s decision whether to reinvest. The letter to Sec. Simon from MN BBC and the Midwest Organizer for Jewish Voice for Peace requesting his recusal can be seen here.

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