Gov Dayton May Consider Divesting Minnesota’s Investments In Israel

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A group trying to get Minnesota to divest its investments in Israel saw a glimmer of hope this week in its meeting with the state board that controls those investments.

Minnesota Break The Bonds appealed to the State Board of Investment meeting on September 9, 2014 to divest of the bonds the state holds from Israel. The board, which includes the governor, attorney general, state auditor and the secretary of state, controls the investment of all state funds including retirement accounts and trust funds. Minnesota holds $10 million in Israel Bonds and another $15 million invested through the US Agency for International Development, which is considered an investment in Israel.

Divestiture was one of the pressure points used against the apartheid government of South Africa. The Presbyterian Church is one of the groups that recently divested Israeli bonds.

After introducing the witnesses, Governor Dayton focused on his digital device and Auditor Rebecca Otto took notes. At the end of the testimony, Dayton asked his advisers when the bonds expired and if they had to be explicitly renewed. The answer was a June 30 expiration and to be reviewed in March, which Dayton suggested was an appropriate time to again raise the question.

Positive development

Phil Benson, co-director of the Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign, saw this as a positive opening in the heretofore one-sided discussion. One critical point is the U.S. State Department grouping of countries related to worker and human rights, intro three categories. Israel is currently in group II, which is a warning to investors. Group II countries are: Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela

Group III: China, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Russia

If Israel were moved to group III, the Israeli bonds would probably not be renewed.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

3 thoughts on “Gov Dayton May Consider Divesting Minnesota’s Investments In Israel

  1. Well there are better investments to make; especially if you are looking for safe money-making government bonds to put your money to work.
    But investing in Israel?
    Not unless you are a racist who supports land-grabbing, apartheid wall building, ethnic cleansing, and colonial segregation of the real Semites.
    Palestinians are real Semites. Not foreign invaders from another land.
    It’s just not in style, or morally right, to invest in a racist terror state that makes the rest of the Western world look bad.

  2. Dayton was heroic recently in his sincere support for Israel in time of war there. Rep. Ellison, quite the opposite in time of war. Ellison voted against funding an ongoing Israel defense system, Iron Dome, as Gaza Terrorists were rocketing Israeli civilians. Is it reasonable to posit that Ellison gave a tacit Yea vote to Hamas War Crimes by tendering his Nay vote to Iron Dome defense funding?

  3. It’s time to be neutral In investing Minnesota monies. To fund those things that support Zionist is unfair to Palestinian people. Fairness demands that we don’t support the things that harm.