Check your Superfund
Oppose apartheid? Support justice for Palestinians?
Don’t fund your retirement on the dispossession of Palestinians.
Ask your superfund if they invest in companies linked to illegal Israeli settlements.
What’s this all about
The crimes against Palestine are obvious to all of us. The violence against Palestinians and dispossession of them from their lands has escalated with the support of the far right apartheid Israeli government. The ongoing murders and systematic apartheid oppression that has spanned many decades, is continuing at pace. The facts speak for themselves as globally recognised non-government organisations have documented these crimes clearly.
No need to dig too deep – just refer to the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and even the Israeli-based B’Tselem – amongst many others. They consistently site institutional discrimination, forced evictions, home demolitions, excessive force, illegal air/land/sea blockades restricting movement, and unlawful killing. There is no factual dispute here, the evidence is incontrovertible.
The real question is – are you contributing to this crime? There is a powerful tide of awareness rising to bring this genocidal, murderous, apartheid practice to an end. There is no shortage of media organisations, politicians, people of influence, and every day individuals like us that are raising their concern about what’s going on and expressing their desire to do something about it.
What can you do practically?
Make sure your money is not invested to support the continuation of this murderous policy. Superannuation is compulsory in Australia – so we all have it. What if your super was invested in corporations that directly contributed towards the support of this indiscriminate murder? It’s likely that it is.
Can one member influence how a massive super fund invests its money? The answer is yes, because often investing in such corporations actually breaches the funds own rules. All you need to do is to bring it to their attention and hold them to their own policies. If you jump onto your super fund’s website, you’ll notice a section that refers to their investment policy; often with the term “responsible investing”. This refers to their investment decision criteria focusing on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. Any investment and contribution to such corporations contradicts their publicly promoted ideals.
** Please note: BDS Australia does not keep any details of an individual’s super fund account number. This identifier needs to be included in your email to your fund so that they know you are a bone fide member, however this information is not kept or saved or used in anyway by BDS Australia.
Send your super fund a letter and ask the question and bring it to their attention. A couple of minutes of your time may contribute towards the ultimate cessation of these crimes.
**If you don’t see your fund on the drop down list, it’s because we haven’t been able to list every superannuation fund in Australia. Also it may be because your fund does not provide an email address but may have a web-based contact form which you can copy the letter into. This is the case with Australian Retirement Trust. We have copied the text of the letter below.
Thank you for making the time to take real action for change and for standing up for justice for Palestinians.
**Letter to your superfund**
Dear Investment Manager,
Request for assurance that [insert the name of our superfund] does not have investments in companies complicit in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land
I understand that you have been contacted by the Palestine Support Network – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Australia (BDSA) about your potential exposure to serious human rights violations and illegalities committed by Israel in occupied Palestine.
I am writing because you have yet to adequately respond or address the urgent humanitarian issues that BDSA has raised. The correspondence advised you of the United Nations Security Council adoption in 2016 of UNSC Resolution 2334, which states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. UN Security Council Resolutions have binding legal status on all UN member states, including Australia.
It also advised you that in 2019, Amnesty International emphasised that Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank is considered a war crime under Article 8(2) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which Australia is a party. That Article prohibits the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” – exactly the situation in historic Palestine.
BDSA’s communications also included a link to the United Nations Security Council’s 2020 media release identifying companies complicit with illegal Israeli settlement activity.
I am thankful that there are no Australian companies on this list and hope that this remains the case. However, the United Nations Security Council has identified many non-Australian companies that are complicit in the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
[Insert the name of your superfund] promotes responsible investing in line with environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy which helps members grow their retirement balances whilst contributing to a more sustainable future.
Examples of ESG factors include opposition to “Modern Slavery” and support for “Human rights”, “Indigenous rights”, and “Diversity and equal opportunity”. As an individual, I share these core values.
Your failure to respond to BDSA makes me concerned that is exposed to companies on this list and so in direct conflict with your ESG policy, and that my retirement savings may therefore be facilitating Israeli violations of international law, including war crimes. has made me an unwitting accomplice in the oppression of Palestinians
I have been made aware of some Australian superannuation funds that have confirmed that they do not have any investments in these complicit companies. I am happy with [insert the name of your superannuation fund here] and do not wish to rollover my retirement savings but failing a satisfactory response to this serious concern, you will leave me no choice but to start the process of changing funds. I await your urgent confirmation that my retirement savings are not being used to oppress the Palestinian people.