Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, representing over 80 local government pension scheme funds, has begun correspondence with companies cited for their involvement in Israel’s illegal Israeli settlements, based on stolen Palestinian land. This development is confirmed in a report for West Midlands Pension Fund’s September committee meeting, in which it is confirmed that “LAPFF has started a correspondence with companies cited by both the PSC and the UN as having human rights concerns through their operations in the Israeli settlements/Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
In addition, West Yorkshire Pension Fund, in a letter scheme members who have raised concern over the fund’s investments, confirmed that the fund is seeking information from French transportation conglomerate Alstom, over its inclusion on the United Nations Human Rights Office’s list of business enterprises involved in activities in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Local Authority Pension Fund Forum begins “correspondence with companies cited by both the PSC and the UN as having human rights concerns through their operations in the Israeli settlements/Occupied Palestinian Territories” West Yorkshire Pension Fund confirms it is engaging with French transport conglomerate Alstom regarding its inclusion on the UNHRC list. Human rights campaigners welcome positive steps forward but say further action must be taken quickly.
Since April 2020, when the Supreme Court overturned government guidance restricting the ability to local authority pension funds to make ethical investment decisions, hundreds of scheme members from across the UK have written to their local pension fund committee, demanding they take immediate steps to end their complicity in Israel’s violations of international law.
Campaigners have welcomed these developments as positive while believing they fall short of the changes they are scheme members are demanding.
Last week, LGPS Divest, a partnership between scheme members, their representative Trade Unions, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, launched a website calling on administering authorities of the LGPS to take immediate steps to ensure that no amount of pension holder’s deferred wages are being invested in companies that support Israel’s violations of international law. The website provides scheme members with tools and resources to lobby their local pension fund committee and to get involved in the campaign.
Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “It is welcome that administering authorities are taking scheme members concerns seriously. All funds must now follow suit, and take immediate steps to address their complicit investments, beginning the process of divesting from companies complicit in Israel’s violations of international law.”