Minnesota group to sue over Israel Bonds, suggests ATCA liability

It’s like the Park Slope Food Coop Israel divestment battle all over again, this time in mild-mannered Minnesota.  Hide your falafel, Land-of-ten-thousand-lakers!

The Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign announced that it intends to sue Minnesota’s State Board of Investment, in part because of claims that the Board’s purchase of Israel Bonds could open the state to ATCA liability.  So says mondoweiss.net:

The SBI has a duty to protect the taxpayers and the state pension plan from lawsuits. By financially aiding and abetting Israel’s violation of Article 49 and other international laws, the SBI could potentially be sued by victims of these violations. These lawsuits could come under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), an 18th century law allowing foreigners to bring lawsuits in U.S. courts against those who aid and abet international law violations committed against them. Minnesota’s investment in Israel Bonds exposes the SBI and its agents, officers and employees to these lawsuits. Minnesota’s taxpayers would be stuck with the bill for defending against any such lawsuits and paying for any adverse judgments.

Because the SBI has refused to divest from its Israel Bond investments, before the end of November, MN BBC will serve a lawsuit on the Minnesota SBI seeking an order from the court directing the SBI to immediately divest from Israel Bonds and to refrain from purchasing more on the grounds that 1) the SBI’s investments in foreign government bonds (with the exception of Canadian bonds) are illegal according to Minnesota statutes; 2) investments in Israel Bonds aid and abet Israel’s continuing violations of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention contrary to international, U.S. and Minnesota law; and 3) by investing in illegal settlement activity, the SBI exposes Minnesota taxpayers and the state pension plan to potential lawsuits.

Good luck with that.

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About Charles Donefer

I am an attorney in New York City.
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