BDS Malaysia urges gov’t to cut BlackRock ties over Israel links

BlackRock reportedly has ties with weapons manufactures who supply arms to Israel [Getty/file photo]

The Malaysian branch of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement called on Kuala Lumpur to cut ties with the BlackRock investment group, due to its alleged links with Israel.

The group’s statement urging for ties to be severed comes after the country’s minister of investment, trade and industry seemingly defended the government’s decision to allow BlackRock to own shares in the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) airport management company.

Tengku Zafrul Aziz said on Sunday that the US investment company is not “owned by Israelis” and pointed out that BlackRock was a major shareholder in Apple, whose products are owned by many Malaysians.

In a statement posted on X, BDS Malaysia stressed that its opposition to BlackRock’s investments in MAHB is not due to the company’s “nationality or ethnicity”, but instead due to several crucial factors, including alleged involvement in the assault in Gaza.

In a statement, BDS said: “The company is complicit with the genocide in Gaza due to its significant ownership in companies that supply weapons to Israel, which is currently committing the crime of genocide in Gaza.”

“They include Lockheed Martin, RTX, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics. These companies are, therefore, categorised as genocide enablers”.

BDS Malaysia also stressed that BlackRock has significant investments in Israel, and owns the British-Israeli company Kreos Capital, which supplies funds to start-ups in Israel’s high-tech industry.

The group added that BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink has expressed support for Israel throughout the war and also pointed out his alleged role in suppressing pro-Gaza student protests at Columbia University. In October, Fink appeared on the FOX Business Network to discuss Israel’s war in Gaza.

Moreover, the company has been operating in Israel since 2016, and has a sizeable number of offices in the country.

“A company that abets genocide in Gaza must not be allowed to own a significant share of our strategic assets,” the group stressed.

Last week, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was reportedly under pressure to sever connections with BlackRock after it was revealed that the company plans on owning shares in Malaysia’s airport management company.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said that pro-Palestinian groups and civil societies criticised Ibrahim for “failing to back up tough words with actions” due to the contradictory nature of his pro-Palestinian support, and the deal with BlackRock.

Since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza, Malaysia has voiced ardent support for Gaza and has frequently condemned Israel’s onslaught in the enclave, which has killed at least 34,550 as of Tuesday.

The South East Asian country has boycotted of brands or events with alleged links to Israel, including McDonalds, KFC and Frankfurt Book Fair, whose organisers took a pro-Israel stance following the outbreak of the war.

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