Did Deutsche Bank divest from Elbit?

Pro-Palestinian groups say largest bank in Germany succumbed to pressure.

Seperation barrier Jerusalem (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Seperation barrier Jerusalem
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
BERLIN - Two pro-Palestinian groups in Germany say they have pressured Deutsche Bank into selling its shares in the Haifa-based defense company Elbit Systems, which furnishes equipment and technology for the West Bank security barrier.
German media and Reuters reported that Deutsche Bank announced the move at its annual stockholder meeting last Thursday, but the bank subsequently denied ever owning any Elbit shares on its own account, saying they were held on behalf of clients only.
In an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Ronald Weichert, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, disputed the 'reports that Deutsche Bank divests from Elbit Systems Ltd. after pressure from NGOs [International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and the Catholic group Pax Christi]. This is not true. Last Thursday, Mr. [Josef] Ackermann [the bank's CEO] said at the [annual general meeting] that Deutsche Bank neither has nor had a stake in Elbit. When NGOs referred to a NASDAQ report, according to which DB reported 50,000 shares, or 0.1 percent, as of March 31, Ackermann made clear that this was no stake of DB in the company, but trading positions or positions held on behalf of clients. Deutsche Bank had no stake and therefore cannot divest.'
According to media reports, Deutsche Bank had a 0.1% stake in Elbit, totaling 50,000 shares, worth roughly $2.6 million.
In a joint statement of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Pax Christi, Wiltrud Rösch-Metzler, vice president of the Catholic group, called for 'Deutsche Bank to end its investment in Elbit Systems and no longer continue to profit from the human rights and international rights violations of the Israeli wall on Palestinian territory.'
Rösch-Metzler spoke at the Deutsche Bank investor meeting last week as part of a group of dissident stockholders.
Post calls on Sunday to press spokeswoman Angelika Wilmen representing both pro-Palestinian organizations were not immediately returned.
Middle East expert Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, who has written extensively on anti-Israel NGOs active in the Middle East, criticized Pax Christi and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War for 'fighting for the rights of Hamas.'
Both NGOs energetically support the Free Gaza Movement and raised money for the flotilla of ships that's been heading to the Gaza Strip.