AXA triples investment in Israeli banks financing illegal settlements on eve of annexation
In May 2020, the Coalition Stop AXA Assistance to Israeli Apartheid contracted Profundo to investigate the financial links between both AXA and Equitable Holdings (formerly AXA Equitable Holdings) and five Israeli banks -- Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank -- as well as Israel’s biggest military company, Elbit Systems, all of which are deeply complicit in Israeli apartheid. While Profundo provided the requested data, the Coalition is responsible for the interpretation of the data and the conclusions in this update.
Here are the latest figures for AXA’s investments in the above mentioned companies and a comparison with these investments in the previous year.
This latest update reveals that, even though AXA divested from Elbit Systems December 2018 and has now divested from Bank Hapoalim, the company’s investments in the remaining three complicit Israeli banks have almost tripled. According to a SumOfUs report from July 2019, AXA’s investments in Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank at that point were $2.3 million. Now, they are almost $7 million. All these Israeli banks are listed in the UN database of companies that are complicit in Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
As detailed in the 2019 SumOfUs report, AXA Financing War crimes, AXA is also indirectly implicated in Israeli apartheid through its share in Equitable Holdings (formerly AXA Equitable Holdings), which invests heavily in complicit Israeli companies and banks. Equitable Holdings’ investment in Israel’s complicit banks -- Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank -- and Israel’s biggest military company Elbit Systems has shot up from $90m last year to $157 million this year.
Since the publication of that 2019 SumOfUs report, AXA’s share in Equitable Holdings has decreased. In January 2020, Equitable Holdings was registered as an independent company, dropping the AXA brand, but AXA still owns 9.03% of Equitable Holdings, and two of its senior officers are members of the board of Equitable Holdings.
To sum up, AXA’s direct investment in three complicit Israeli banks has almost tripled, despite its divestment from Bank Hapoalim. In addition, AXA still maintains a 9.03% stake in Equitable Holdings, which has dramatically increased its own investments in these Israeli banks and in Elbit Systems.
AXA tries to complicate things, but it is still very simple: AXA keeps profiting from investing in Israeli apartheid and must be pressured to end this complicity.
* In March 2021 Profundo notified us of some mistakes in the previous data they had sent us. AXA hadn’t divested from Bank Hapoalim, it invested $0.80M at the time. In 2019 the investments in the four banks were $2.48M instead of $2.30M. In 2019 AXA’s investments in the banks were $7.14M instead of $6.72M. The data for Equitable’s investments is also slightly different. The correct information can be found here.