“We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law,” Ms Halvorsen said at the time...
significant high point in a campaign that is followed attentively, and with some concern, in Israel
Tobias Bruck in Financial Times 19 November 2009
Norwegian finance ministers do not normally have the tools or the temperament to provoke fury among Israeli leaders and jubilation among Palestinian activists.
Yet those were the reactions when Kristin Halvorsen announced in September that her country’s giant pension fund had excluded an Israeli defence company from its portfolio for “ethical reasons”. The fund, she added, had sold its holding in Elbit Systems because of the company’s role in supplying surveillance equipment to Israel’s controversial West Bank barrier.In purely financial terms, the decision was of little significance. What is more, it remains for the moment an isolated event. But the Norwegian move caught attention because it marked a rare but significant high point in a campaign that is followed attentively, and with some concern, in Israel: the attempt to drag the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians into the economic sphere, and target Israeli companies in pursuit of political goals.