In February 2020, the UN Human Rights Council finally published a long-delayed list of 112 companies with business activities in illegal Israeli settlements. Nine Israeli banks are on the UN list. Today’s new visual explains how these banks are complicit in violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.
We want to be clear: the scope of the UN list is narrow. It focuses only on companies directly involved in certain activities in Israeli settlements, thereby excluding numerous companies with other connections to serious Israeli rights abuses. Nevertheless, the publication of the list is a positive development, especially since the United Nations faced pressure to suppress it.
With that in mind, our latest visual shows a worker in the European Union putting savings in a pension fund, with hopes for a secure retirement. We started the story here because we wanted to show how ordinary people with good intentions might unwittingly become connected to war crimes because of unethical investments made by pension funds or other investors we trust to manage our savings.
We created this visual in conversation with activists from the Netherlands, who wanted a tool to communicate the “why” of divestment campaigns that highlight Israeli banks and other companies. The data comes from multiple sources, including a 2018 report by Human Rights Watch analyzing the depth and breadth of banks’ involvement in the settlements, and a 2017 investigative report by Danwatch, a Danish media and research center.
Want more visuals on corporate complicity?
We have previously covered one of the other companies named on the UN list, Airbnb. See our visuals with Human Rights Watch on Airbnb listings in illegal Israeli settlements here and here.
Coming soon, we will also be launching a collection of visuals on Elbit Systems, a company that does not appear on the UN list but, as Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, is one of the most egregious examples of a corporation profiting off of Palestinian suffering and death.