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4 Mär 2014

Association of Banks in Israel

Response to Allegations against Banks in Israel

[T]he Association of Banks in Israel is an umbrella organization, operating on behalf of all local banks…WhoProfits clearly drafted the report to advance a political agenda. Nevertheless, we do see value in ensuring that the broader community not be misled by the narrative presented in the report, which disregards and misrepresents a wide range of factual and legal aspects…Israel’s developed banking laws and regulations ensure that banks conduct their activity in full compliance with both legal and ethical standards. The banks are not guided by political considerations in the provision of services, and are further subject to ongoing supervision by the Bank of Israel and other domestic governmental bodies, as well as by international institution…Parties who feel they have been wronged by the banks have a wide range of remedies…[B]anks in Israel are at the forefront of corporate social responsibility in the country, with internal codes of ethics reflecting both the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…These mechanisms…ensure that banks avoid contributing to human rights violations, environmental damage…Israeli banks are committed to providing banking services without discrimination based on race, religion, country of origin, place of residence, nationality…The underlying "theme" of the WhoProfits report is that private institutions, through ongoing professional commercial activities related to the West Bank and Golan Heights, are somehow complicit in Israel’s alleged violations of international law…WhoProfits presents and represents one narrative out of several; a narrative which assumes as fact that all Israeli…commercial activities beyond the “Green Line” are inherently unlawful. This position is presented by WhoProfits as fact, notwithstanding Israeli (and international) judicial rulings to the contrary…We view it as unreasonable, as well as highly undesirable, to demand that financial institutions…be required to adopt and embrace political positions.