DENMARK: Dansk Bank divests from Elbit and Africa-Israel 26Jan10 February 7, 2010

Israel’s ambassador to Denmark says Danske Bank follows a Middle East policy with a disproportionate focus on Israel by dropping investments in two companies involved in settlements.

JERUSALEM: Danske Bank’s decision to abandon investments in two companies because of their activities in the occupied West Bank is politically motivated and focused disproportionately on Israel. Israel’s ambassador to Denmark, Arthur Avnon, characterized the decision as “unfortunate”.

“What they are really doing is playing with politics and not, as they say, to worry about moral values or violations of international norms. In the case of the administered territories and the settlements it is a purely political matter to be resolved in negotiations between the parties in the Middle East conflict, “says Arthur Avnon.

Danske Bank publishes today that they exclude the two Israeli companies, Elbit Systems and Africa Israel Investments from the companies they invest in. The reason is that the two companies violate international norms. Elbit provides surveillance equipment for the separation wall, which the international court has condemned, and Africa Israel builds houses in the Jewish settlements that are internationally regarded as illegal.

Arthur Avnon relates not to the two companies specifically, but does not believe that the argument about breaches of international standards provides.

“Who defines what international norms are? If the UN, with 192 countries, most of which are not democracies and where the Islamic and Arab countries have an automatic majority, shall adopt resolutions condemning the only democracy in the Middle East and ignoring the real abusers of human rights, will you then define the resolutions as an international standard? “asked Avnon who feel Israel is disproportionate attention.

“They [Danske Bank] should at least be honest and answer to whether they would take the same decision about their business with real human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia, Iran or some big countries in Asia, which I do not like to mention by name, “says Avnon.

He will not criticize the Danske Bank, if the decision is strictly business-based.
“Businesses have the right to make their own calculations and the only thing they have to report to their shareholders. Above them they must respond to how the company will have the financial advantage of the decision,” says Arthur Avnon.


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