The first of July 2010 saw the tenth annual ‘Israel Opportunity Investment Conference’ take place in London. Represented by the PR company Grayling (www.grayling.com), the aim of the day was to sell Israel as a secure investment opportunity and a promising emerging market worthy of attention. Only four weeks before the conference, Israel had been accepted into the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) despite the efforts of campaigners to prevent this by protesting that a country which include their illegal settlement activities and businesses in their economic data can hardly be seen as complying with the OECD motto “For a stronger, cleaner, fairer world economy’. However, since Israel had also been promoted from ‘emerging’ to ‘developed’ market status by the MSCI a few days before the event, there was always bound to be a lot of interest from investors willing to find ways to benefit from Israel’s occupation economy.
Focusing on banking, energy and the biotech sector, the conference highlighted the already cosy relationships between Israel and global international companies. For instance, the sessions encouraging investment in the Israeli businesses Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim and the Strauss Group were facilitated by two representatives from Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital respectively. Both financial institutions have established offices in Israel already. The literature handed out to attendees at the conference gave, as one of the top ten reasons for investing in the country, that ‘The state of Israel is committed to encouraging local and foreign direct investment by offering a wide range of incentives and benefits, such as investment grants, tax benefits and exemptions to investors’, hence making it very clear to potential investors that should they choose to get involved with any of the companies exhibiting, they would be beneficiaries of Israel’s apartheid system. Continue reading