The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center opposes Colorado Senate Bill 13-176 (SB 13-176), which authorizes the state treasurer to invest state funds in Israel's debt obligations.
RMPJC's has taken this position for the following reasons:
Given the continuing difficulty for some small businesses and home purchasers to get loans, state funds should be put in local credit unions and community banks. This will keep our money circulating in Colorado and help our economy to recover.
Israel claims to be focused on nourishing a specific religion, which raises the question of separation of church and state. Should Colorado encourage the fostering of one religion over another?
Although Israel's bonds are rated A1 by Moody, there are four higher credit ratings. The U.S. has a higher rating. Analysts state, "There are significant risks that Israel must contend with that the United States doesn't: Specifically, its neighbors are in position to do significant damage to Israel's economy by forcing the country to spend its resources on defense, or by making it more difficult to conduct international trade." (Read more at learnbonds.com/israel-bonds/.) In addition, we've seen governments in Europe and around the world in crisis because they are unable to repay their sovereign debts.
Israel has not always repaid it debts to the U.S. government. The web site wrmea.org/special-topics/9748-us-aid-to-israel.html points out that, although Israel states that they have never defaulted on a U.S. government loan, all past loans to Israel have eventually been forgiven by Congress.
The U.S. already supports Israel to the tune of $3 billion a year.
If private individuals want to invest their own funds, they are free to do so.
If Colorado were to invest its funds in Israel's debt obligations, we could end up making future decisions based on a need to protect our investment. This is very problematical since Israel has a long history of UN-documented human rights and international law violations.
The bill was assigned to the Finance Committee, which has not taken any action on it.
Please contact the chair and vice chair of the Finance Committee and your state legislators (see votesmart.org for info on your legislators).
Michael Johnston, Chair of Finance Committee 303-866-4864 and E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Kerr, Vice-Chair of Finance Committee 303-866-4859 and E-Mail: email@example.com
For more info on the status of the bill, go to coloradocapitolwatch.com.
Carolyn Bninski is on the staff of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.