The Canadian BDS Coalition is pleased to join the campaign to let Scotiabank know that we are not going to sit idly by while they invest in Israeli war crimes.
In October 2022, Scotiabank’s asset fund put $500 million into the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems Ltd, which amounts to 5% of the company. This also made them the largest foreign investor in a company that profits off Palestinian death.
According to Who Profits, “Elbit is Israel’s biggest military and arms company. The company has a tightly-knit relationship with the Israeli security apparatus…”. Elbit drones were reportedly in use and Elbit personnel part of the operation room of a special drones unit deployed during Israel’s 11-day onslaught against Gaza in May 2021, which left 248 people dead and over 1,900 injured.
There were already attempts to hold Scotiabank to account. At the annual shareholders meeting in April 2023, the group Eko presented a petition with 12,000 signatories calling on them to divest from the firm and all deadly weapons companies. However, according to reports, Scotiabank did not respond directly to questions about Elbit at the meeting, and a bank representative “characterized all fund decisions as being driven by ‘the interests of shareholders’.”
Scotiabank fund manager David Fingold was quite blunt in a 2019 interview about how the defense industry in Israel “will remain strong” and further noted:
“The cycle at Elbit is not connected to the state of the economy, but to the state of global arms procurement, and it can be seen that militaries in both Europe and America continue to arm themselves and in particular need upgrades for their old equipment.”
Teresa Diewert, a member of BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish, pointed out: “While working people struggle to make ends meet, Banks make massive profits while investing in machines of war and death. Scotia Banks’ investment in Elbit Systems makes them complicit in war crimes against the Palestinian people in particular and Canadians should be demanding that Scotia Bank divest from Elbit Systems now.”
Several banks, including HSBC, and sovereign wealth and pension funds in Australia, Sweden and Norway have already divested from Elbit. They realized that investing in war crimes can never be “socially responsible”; send your message now to Scotiabank to demand that they also immediately cancel their huge investment in Elbit Systems.
Canadian BDS Coalition
Canada Palestine Association
BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish
Just Peace Advocates
Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
Palestinian and Jewish Unity