PFZW to review Israeli divestment after allegations of pro-Palestinian bias [updated]

first_imgPFZW, the €137bn pension fund for the Dutch healthcare industry, will conduct a “very extensive” review of its recent divestment from five Israeli banks, according to its director, Peter Borgdorff.The pension fund has faced widespread criticism for the controversial decision, including allegations of pro-Palestinian bias. In early January, PGGM – the manager responsible for PFZW’s assets – announced that it planned to divest from the banks over their involvement in the financing of Israeli settlements in the “occupied Palestinian territories”.PGGM spokesman Maurice Wilbrink confirmed that the manager initiated its engagement with the banks, a process that led to their divestment, specifically at PFZW’s behest. The divestment has proved a highly contentious one, sparking demonstrations outsides PGGM’s offices, while the Israeli government summoned the Dutch ambassador to protest the move. In the fallout following the decision to divest from the banks, it came to light that Gert van Dijk, chairman of the PGGM council, was also a member of pro-Palestinian organisation ICCO.Further, Cees Flinterman, who is a member of PFZW’s ethical board, is also a board member of The Rights Forum, as well as a member of the Support Committee of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, organisations that have been accused of having an anti-Israel agenda.Since then, Borgdorff has confirmed in his blog that pro-Palestinian organisations Cordaid, ICCO, IKV PaxChristi, Oxfam Novib, Watershed Working Group and the Dutch Palestine Komite, among others, had been actively lobbying the pension fund for “several years”, and that it incidentally provided pension funds to “some of them”. IPE understands that PFZW was lobbied by pro-Palestinian NGOs only.Meanwhile, ABP, Europe’s largest pension fund, announced in early February that it would not be following PGGM’s example, and that it disagreed with the manager’s assessment that the banks had acted in breach of “international law”.In a statement, it concluded that the Israeli banks in which it invests had done nothing to violate the UN Global Compact, or give cause to initiate a formal engagement process.In an interview with IP Nederland, Borgdorff conceded that PFZW had underestimated the extent to which its divestment would be perceived as a boycott, and confirmed the scheme would now launch a “very extensive” review of its decision-making process.“This whole process warrants a deep and extensive review, and one of the issues that will be reviewed is how should we view all this in relation to our peers, including ABP,” he said.“Does this mean we should change our policy to better suit the policy of others? No, we have our own policy, and we need to take our own responsibility.“But perhaps it does mean we should devote more time beforehand to get to know the policy of others because, based on what I read in the newspapers and websites, I cannot explain the difference in policy between PFZW and ABP, and yet those policies lead to entirely different outcomes.”When pressed by IP Nederland on Flinterman’s advisory role, Borgdorff explained that PFZW had wanted “somebody significant, somebody who is significant internationally as well”, and pointed out that Flinterman was a rapporteur on the Middle East conflict for the United Nations.When asked whether the pension fund might have sought a more objective adviser for the role, he said: “I’m sure we could have found someone else, but then we also would have asked for a balanced opinion.”Borgdorff said PFZW had reviewed its entire decision-making process, including the role of the ethical committee, the investment committee and the board.“We have literally pored over the minutes,” he said. He added: “We recently had protestors on our doorstep, and, to get in the office, you had to pass through 250 demonstrators, and that does have an impact. Our own PGGM staff started to question what it is we’re doing. And I think that is a good thing. Let’s have that discussion.”PFZW’s director also conceded that he personally had been unprepared for the “commotion” the decision had caused.“I have spoken with a lot of representatives from Jewish organisations in the Netherlands, and what has deeply touched and unsettled me is that these people and their constituents are truly fearful, truly concerned and saddened,” he said.“They are afraid there will be an anti-Israel mood in The Netherlands reminiscent of the 1930s, and they are no longer sure they are still welcome here, as human beings.“And then you think – we made an investment decision. We were aware of the fact this would have an impact. But did we foresee this would so deeply impact the very hearts and lives of people? Well, that was a good deal more intense than we were prepared for.”Joel Voordewind, an MP for the CU party, said PFZW had “given into” the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.“By acting like this, the scheme goes further than the policies of both the Dutch government and the EU, which advocate discouragement of investment in Israel’s occupied territories, rather than an outright boycott,” he said.He said the pension fund had effectively taken a political stance on behalf of its participants.Esther Voet, director of pro-Israel organisation The Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, decried Flinterman’s involvement in the decision in particular.“PFZW is applying double standards,” she added, “as it is still invested in Chinese banks that are active in Tibet.”Meanwhile, a Dutch Jewish action group called Tradition is Our Future has called for a “counter boycott” of PGGM, and asked Jewish organisations in the US to put pressure on Emory University in Atlanta to expel Else Bos, PGGM’s chief executive, from an advisory committee.The conclusions of PFZW’s review are expected some time in mid-March.Flinterman has declined to comment, citing confidentiality.last_img read more

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Driven by lack of respect, Syracuse looks to prove superiority over Notre Dame at Big East tournament

first_imgThe May issue of Inside Lacrosse features a Notre Dame player on the cover, blowing past a defender. On the inside there’s a feature about the Fighting Irish defense. Goaltender John Kemp stands in the middle, flanked by his highly touted defense—the same defense that just found itself outplayed by Syracuse’s on Saturday in the Orange’s 10-4 victory.The article now hangs on Dominic Lamolinara’s wall. He saw both defenses on Saturday, but not many shots. His defense was superior.“That’s definitely also going to add a little bit of incentive,” Lamolinara said.It’s been a driving factor for Syracuse this season. That level of disrespect isn’t common in Central New York. But this year’s Orange (11-3, 5-1 Big East), which came into the season ranked outside the Top 10, has ascended to No. 3 and has a chance to claim the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a dominant performance at the Big East tournament, starting with Thursday’s 4:30 p.m. faceoff with No. 5 Notre Dame (10-3, 4-2). The victor will advance to the Big East championship on Saturday at noon against the winner of the later semifinal between No. 19 Villanova and Georgetown.A 9-8 finish a year ago appeared to signify a changing of the guard atop the lacrosse world. No longer was SU an unbeatable superpower. With no national titles in three seasons, Syracuse was no longer the mark of excellence.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA week-one, double-overtime loss to Albany made the criticisms seem valid. The Orange surrendered 16 goals to the Great Danes and tumbled to No. 18 in the rankings. For a moment, the great SU lacrosse dynasty seemed dead.“You could read the newspapers and rankings and have it turn around and now lose to Albany and believe what everybody’s saying,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said, “but fortunately we responded the other way.”The Orange has since surged back to the top of the sport. It’s won 11 of its last 13 games, and its three losses this season have come by a combined three goals.But even on Saturday, SU felt disrespected.Syracuse held the top-ranked team in the nation to just four goals in a six-goal victory. UND head coach Kevin Corrigan knows he has a good team — there’s a reason the Fighting Irish have been No. 1 all year. He knows they’ll figure things out before the Big East tournament.But on Saturday he didn’t credit the team that embarrassed his. He placed all the blame upon himself and his players, not once crediting SU’s staunch defensive effort.“Look, we were bad all night long,” Corrigan said after the game. “We were turning the ball over. They had the ball the whole night.”Corrigan’s words have saved Syracuse in a week it could get complacent. The Orange rolled through a dominant fourth quarter and stifled a talented Irish team for a full 60 minutes.It was an effort worth praise, so the SU defense takes Corrigan’s words personally.“We won, but they’re saying that we won because Notre Dame didn’t have a good game,” Syracuse defender Brian Megill said. “That’s a shot right to the chest. We’re taking it, and we’re using it as motivation because what if we just played really well, you know? What if we’re just the better team?”The Orange sits at No. 6 in the RPI—five spots behind the No. 1 Fighting Irish. SU has paid its dues this year with a grueling schedule and has still climbed back toward the top of the nation, but it still has a bit more to prove.A pair of wins this weekend and it will claim back-to-back Big East championships before heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference and maybe a No. 1-overall seed. Four more wins after that and Syracuse will have its first national title since 2009.“You just want to win it for this year,” Lamolinara said. “We’re not really trying to make a legacy for ourselves, so we just want to go through this year, and get through the playoffs, get the best seed possible and beat Notre Dame on Thursday.” Comments Published on May 2, 2013 at 11:08 am Contact David: dbwilson@syr.edu | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Betis out to inflict more misery onto Real as La Liga enters Match-Day 19

first_imgRayo Vallecano vs Celta VigoEstadio de Vallecas, MadridFriday, 11-01-2019 @11:00 pmReferee: Javier AlberolaThis Friday’s match is a very significant one at the bottom end of Spain’s La Liga. Rayo Vallecano can go level on points with the sides in 16th and 17th with a win, which would be a huge boost to their survival chances, that looked very slim just a matter of weeks ago. Indeed they’d only be two points shy of opponents Celta Vigo were they to win and that would drag the Galicians right back into the relegation dogfight. With five of the bottom six winning last weekend, Rayo didn’t make the sort of gains they would have hoped for from their 1-0 victory at Valladolid. They now head into a really crucial phase of their season with 3 of their next 4 matches at home against bottom half teams. Michel will be targeting at least 2 wins from those games as Rayo bid to defy the odds and extend their top flight stay into a second season.Celta Vigo were largely seen to have underperformed last season and there is a real sense of deja vu this time around. They were beaten at home by Athletic Bilbao on Monday night and in truth they haven’t really improved in any way since sacking Antonio Mohamed and appointing Miguel Cardoso.Rayo will take more momentum and confidence into this game than they have done at any other point this season. Back-to-back wins for the first time in the campaign will have given them a real belief that this is not mission impossible and their overall level of performance has been much better at Vallecas than on the road.The last 6 meetings have produced 4 Rayo wins, 2 Celta wins and some very one-sided scorelines. 4 of those matches were won by 3 or more goals with Rayo winning 3-0 the last time the sides met in January 2016. Rayo have won their last 9 at home to Celta in La Liga.Leganes vs HuescaEstadio Municipal de Butarque, Leganes  Saturday, 12-01-2019 @03: 00 pmReferee: Mario MeleroThis Saturday’s clash is a really significant game at the bottom end of La Liga. Huesca gave themselves a glimmer of hope with a rare victory last weekend but would undo that were they to lose a relegation six-pointer against Leganes. The hosts have been in good form over the past few months but a few too many draws have made it tough for them to truly move clear of danger. Leganes were one of the few teams at the bottom end to have a poor weekend last time around. They suffered a 1-0 defeat at Espanyol while the 4 teams below them picked up 3 wins and a draw. That adds a touch of pressure here for Lega who rotated heavily in the Copa del Rey defeat at the Bernabeu. Former Middlesbrough forward Martin Braithwaite made his debut in that one but is expected to make way for Guido Carrillo here, with the target-man impressing in Leganes colours.As for Huesca, they won for the first time since the opening day last time out. A 2-1 win over Real Betis was their first ever victory at home in the Primera Division. There have been quite a few games where they’ve been a bit unfortunate so it was an overdue success but their plight still remains pretty dire with only 11 points on the board, just one game shy of the halfway mark in the season.Huesca are often decent in possession but their defence isn’t best suited to dealing with Leganes’ big forward players. The visitors will travel with an element of renewed belief but it’s still 7 straight away league defeats for them heading into this one. No side has collected fewer points or conceded more goals away from home than them this term so this is very clearly a game Leganes will be targeting a win from.The sides last met in the 2015-16 Segunda Division with Huesca winning 3-2 at Butarque and drawing at home. This will be the first ever top flight meeting.Valencia vs Real ValladolidEstadio de Mestalla, ValenciaSaturday, 12-01-2019 @06: 15 pmReferee: Iglesias VillanuevaThis Saturday’s game at the Mestalla takes place with Marcelino back under real pressure after a shaky start to 2019 from Valencia. While the brilliant job he did last term has bought him time, the Valencia board will be increasingly tempted to act if things don’t pick up soon and this has to be seen as a must win game against a Real Valladolid side that is slipping towards a relegation battle. We have seen Valencia make hard work of other games this term against struggling teams. They needed a last gasp goal to see off Huesca at home just before Christmas and they’ve made a poor start to the New Year, losing at Alaves last weekend and then again at second tier Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey in midweek. A third straight defeat here would really put Marcelino under a lot of pressure and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if it resulted in a change in coach.As for Valladolid, Sergio Gonzalez looks pretty secure in his position but will be getting increasingly worried by his side’s slide towards trouble. It’s just 1 win in 9 league games now for the newly promoted side and with a host of teams below them in form, they could find themselves in big trouble a month from now if results don’t pick up. They can at least take comfort from their away record which is very good for a side trying to find their feet in the top flight. Indeed only two sides in La Liga have picked up more points on the road this term and Sergio will be delighted with a record of just 2 defeats from 9 away league outings this season.Valladolid have only won 1 of the last 12 meetings, although that was at the Mestalla in 2009. The sides haven’t met since two draws in the 2013-14 season.Girona vs Deportivo AlavesEstadio Municipal de Montilivi, GironaSaturday, 12-01-2019 @08:30 pmReferee: Sanchez MartinezThe third game of the day this Saturday in La Liga comes from Catalonia where Girona take on high-flying Alaves. The visitors moved back above Real Madrid and into the top four last weekend with an impressive win over Valencia. If they can bag the points here they will guarantee themselves a top four place at the halfway point in the season, no mean feat for a club of their size. It hasn’t been such a good week for Alaves since their win over Los Che though. Ibai Gomez, one of their star performers this term, completed a move to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday. The winger has effectively swapped the top four for the bottom four so some will question his motives and a reported fee of £3.6 million is a relatively modest sum in this day and age for a player of his talents.Girona meanwhile are also having a solid campaign. They’ll be very happy with their current 9th place, particularly given the injury problems they’ve had to deal with. There have been a few signs that their squad has started to become a bit stretched in recent weeks though with none of their last 5 league outings yielding maximum points. Girona’s home record is another reason why we have reason to expect the visitors will get at least a point. It’s just 2 wins in 14 home league games for the Catalan club now. They have been dependent on some positive away results to really fire them into mid-table this term and with some key men still sidelined, they may struggle to bag all the points here against a confident Alaves side.The sides have met 4 times since the start of last term with both teams scoring in all the games. Girona were 4-3 aggregate winners in the Copa del Rey this season while both league games last year produced away wins.Villarreal vs GetafeEstadio de la Ceramica, VillarealSaturday, 10-11-2019 @10:45 pmReferee: Estrada FernandezThe final game this Saturday in La Liga comes from the Ceramica where Villareal take on Getafe. The hosts will be hoping 2019 treats them better than 2018. They are still in the relegation zone heading into this match but there have been tentative signs of improvement since Luis Garcia assumed control from Javi Calleja last month. Supporters of the Yellow Submarine will still believe they have enough quality to climb the table and potentially challenge for Europe by May. They may have a point to some extent but for now they can’t afford to look beyond the present reality of a genuine relegation battle. The’ve played 5 games since Luis Garcia took charge and are yet to lose but they are still drawing too many games to really lift themselves away from danger.As for Getafe, they remain a side that people rarely talk about despite them putting an excellent campaign together for the second season running. Jose Bordalas’ men have La Liga’s second best defensive record with only 0.83 goals per game conceded this season. They also boast the division’s longest current unbeaten streak on the road, having not lost away since match-day one at the Bernabeu. That kind of record suggests they are well capable of going away to a side that is currently in the relegation zone and getting a point. It’s just 1 defeat in 14 competitive away games overall and that’s a fantastic transformation since last term. Defensive qualities are the main reason for their improved away form but they do have a sprinkling of attacking quality too with players like Angel and Jaime Mata offering a genuine goal threat.Villarreal are better than their current position suggests but they still seem like a team a bit short on confidence and one that has forgotten how to win matches on a consistent basis. They’ve not won in La Liga since the end of November with their only win so far under Luis Garcia coming in the Europa League.The last 6 meetings have produced 3 Villarreal wins and 2 for Getafe. Villarreal have won the last 4 meetings at the Ceramica.Atletico Madrid vs LevanteEstadio Wanda Metropolitano, MadridSunday, 13-01-2019 @02:00 pmReferee: Prieto IglesiasAfter only managing a draw against Sevilla in their last match Atletico Madrid will be the favourites when they host Levante in this early kickoff at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid. Atletico Madrid is currently second in the standings with five points behind Barcelona, while Levante is in tenth spot with 23 points.Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in 15 league games while Levante are without a win in their last four matches in La Liga. They need to get the win here and push leaders if they want to challenge for the title. Diego Simeone’s side are unbeaten throughout their last 15 league matches but they have won just two of their nine matches away from home in the competition, including their last match away to Sevilla. At the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, Atletico Madrid have won seven of their nine home games this campaign in the division and are unbeaten at home. They have scored 16 and conceded only 4 at home. In their last six home matches, they have won five of them. Their last three home matches have seen them drew with FC Barcelona 1-1 and then managed a 3-0 win over Alaves and a 1-0 win over Espanyol.Levante are currently in tenth spot and are 12 points behind Atletico Madrid coming into this match. However they have failed to win their last four La Liga games managing two defeats and two draws. In their last match they could only managed a 2-2 draw with FC Girona. They have an away record of 3 wins, 5 draws 3 defeats. They have scored 15 and conceded 13 on their travels this season. In their last six away games they only managed two wins. In their last three away games, they drew with Huesca 2-2, drew with Eibar 4-4 and lost to Rayo Vallecano by 2-1.Athletic Bilbao vs SevillaSan Mames Barria, BilbaoSunday, 13-01-2019 @06:15 pmReferee: Pablo GonzalezAthletic Bilbao in 17th spot welcome the visit of Sevilla in 3rd spot for this clash at the San MamesBarria in Bilbao. The two sides are playing three matches against each other in a space of six days and this is because they are playing home and away in the Copa del Rey competition. Sevilla are unbeaten in nine league games while Athletic Club have not been beaten in their last four matches in La Liga.Since taking over the helm from Eduardo Berizzo, new manager Gaizka Garitano has been unbeaten in charge of the side. He has managed eight points from his four games in charge of the side. They have defeated Girona and Celta Vigo and have played draws with Alaves and Real Valladolid. They have a home record of 2 wins, 5 draws and 2 defeats. They have scored 9 and conceded 12 goals at home this season. They come into this match with just one win in their last six home games. In their last three home games, they drew with Getafe 1-1, beat Girona 1-0 and drew with Valladolid. They are currently third in the standings, with one place and two points behind Atletico Madrid. In four of their last five games they have been held to 1-1 draws. Those were draws against Alaves, Valencia and Leganes before the draw with Atletico Madrid. Pablo Machin’s side had won ten home games in a row in all competitions before the draw with Atletico Madrid. They have an away record of three wins, 4 draws and 2 defeats. They do not play well away from home with just one win in their last six away games. In their last three away games, they played three matches with ideantical draws and they were against the likes of Alaves, Valencia and Leganes. Away from home they have scored 18 and conceded 12 goals.Athletic Bilbao won the last six meeting when they hosted Sevilla.Barcelona vs EibarEstadio Camp Nou, BarcelonaSunday, 13-01-2019 @08:30 pmReferee: Jesus GilSunday’s evening action comes from the Nou Camp as current Champions and leaders Barcelona welcomes the visit of Eibar in 13th spot. Barcelona have won their last five las liga matches in a row and they will start as favourites against Eibar who are winlessin their last six matches in all competitions. After winning just three La Liga games in nine matches, Barcelona have started to recover from it as they have won their last five matches now. Against Getafe they won by 2-1 and that was Barcelona’s first goal conceded in five matches and they have now stepped up their title defence as they will want to win their fourth title in five seasons. Barcelona have a home record of 6 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat and have won four out of their last six home matches. In their last three home games, since losing to Real Betis 3-4 at home, they have won their last two home games beating Villarreal and Celta Vigo by 2-0 each.Eibar are a team that is in a strange run of form. Interestingly, they have drawn each of their last five matches in all competitions, despite failing to win it. In their last 6 away games, Eibar have only only won once and in their last three away games they drew with Valladolid 0-0, lost to Rayo Vallecano 1-0 and drew with Real Betis 1-1. They have managed one win away from home this season to date. Eibar have also drawn 3 and lost 4 times on their travels. Away from home they have scored only five goals but conceded 12.Last season Barcelona won this fixture by 6-1 at the Nou Camp and they have also won all eight clashes with Eibar.Real Betis vs Real MadridEstadio Benito Villamarin, SevillaSunday, 13-01-2019 @10:45 pmReferee: Alehandro HernandezReal Betis in sixth spot will hope to inflict more misery on Real Madrid who are currently fifth as they visit Seville this Sunday to play Real Betis. It can be said that the reigning Champions League holders are playing poorly this season without the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo and their target is to break into the top four at least come end season. Real Madrid are are four points ahead of their opponents and one off Alaves who currently hold fourth spot. Real Madrid have lost four times away from home this season. However, compared to last season, they only suffered three defeats away from home in the whole of the previous campaign.Real Betis were surprised by bottom club Huesca 2-1 in their last match and that is not the sort of preparation they will need before facing Real Madrid. Real Betis who currently sit in sixth spot and holding the last Europa League spot, have managed some good resuls this season, and that is even beating leaders Barcelona 4-3 back in November at the Nou Camp. Now they will fancy their chances of claiming another big scalp against Real Madrid who are finding it difficult to get wins under their belt as well. They will now be led by Antonio Sanabria, with Sergio Canales and club legend Joaquin playing behind him. Canales, will of course be a familiar face for Real Madrid after he spent two years with Real Madrid in 2010 before moving to Valencia. Real Betis have won three out of their last six home games. In their last three home games, they beat Real Sociedad 1-0, beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 and drew with Eibar 1-1 in their last home match.Real Madrid are in desperate need for a win after another poor showing in their last match. Los Blancos were beaten 2-0 at home by Real Sociedad and soon they also need to defend their european title. Coach Santiago Solari is still without the injured Gareth Bale for this match. They are also without Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz and it is obvious they are not the same team without the presence of Ronaldo. Real Madrid have won only two out of their last six away games. In their last three away games, they lost to Eibar 3-0, beat Huesca 0-1 and drew with Villarreal 2-2.Last season Real Madrid won this fixture by 5-3 but before that Real Betis surprisingly won 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.Real Sociedad vs EspanyolEstadio Municipal de Anoeta, San SebastianSunday, 14-01-2019 @10:45 pmReferee: Carlos Dell Cerro*DETAILS FOR THE GAME TO FOLLOW SHORTLYBET ON ALL THESE GAMES AND MANY MORE @Bunga BetComments Tags: Spanish La Ligatoplast_img read more

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