Danish pension funds are indirectly investing billions in firms involved in settlements that have been declared illegal by the United States and United Nations, it has come to light.
The Copenhagen Post reports that illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem are benefiting from billions of Danish kroner, unbeknownst to account owners.
An estimated DKK 2 billion has been invested by sizeable Danish pension schemes such as PKA, Danica Pension, PensionDanmark and Nordea Liv & Pension. These monies have been used to subsidise a variety of companies involved in construction, machinery and housing assistance to settlements that Denmark itself also considers illegal.
“These companies are making money on the occupation of Palestine. It must stop,” spokesperson for Israeli peace organisation Who Profits, Merav Amir says.
Per Stig Moller, the Danish Foreign Minister, stated that his government should not be involved in the regulation of business practices undertaken by individual companies. Denmark is one of the world’s leading major aid donors with its official website stating that development assistance constitutes around 0.8 percent of its GNP.
The revelations have led Nordea and Danica to reconsider their existing arrangements, although both PensionDanmark and PKA have no concerns with the issue. “It isn’t PKA’s role to conduct foreign policy,” said the company in a statement.
Others, such as University of Southern Denmark’s Centre for Middle East Studies researcher Helle Lykke Nielsen have claimed they would be transferring their pension savings, “just as I would if I found out my pension fund was investing in companies making profits from child labour or trading weapons”.