Rather than calling for a ceasefire in Palestine and Israel, Canadian banks are profiting from holdings in weapons companies

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo by Canadian Palestine Association.

Peace Brigades International supports the call for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine and Israel, respect for international humanitarian law, an end to collective punishment and a process of negotiations leading to a just and lasting peace.

Numerous Canadian organizations have backed the call for a ceasefire, as have 33 Members of Parliament.

On November 2, United Nations experts also supported the call for a humanitarian ceasefire and highlighted: “We remain convinced that the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide. The time for action is now. …The Israeli airstrike on a residential complex in the Jabalia refugee camp is a brazen violation of international law – and a war crime.”

Profiting from conflict

Last month, CNN reported: “When war breaks out, defense companies tend to make money. That means aerospace and defense stocks tend to rise during geopolitical unrest. In the immediate aftermath of the Israel-Hamas War, shares of military contractors spiked as both institutional and retail investors bought in.”

TD Bank holds $16 million in General Dynamics stock

Investigative journalist Eli Clifton has written in The Guardian that an analyst from TD Bank took note of the profit-making potential of the current situation during a General Dynamics third-quarter earnings call on October 25.

The article in The Guardian notes: “The death toll … wasn’t top of mind for TD Cowen’s Cai von Rumohr, managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the aerospace industry. His question was about the upside for General Dynamics, an aerospace and weapons company in which TD Asset Management holds over $16m in stock.”

On the call, Von Rumohr said: “Can you give us some general color in terms of areas where you think you could see incremental acceleration in demand?” Jason Aiken from General Dynamic replied: “If you look at the incremental demand potential coming out of that, the biggest one to highlight and that really sticks out is probably on the artillery side.”

Significantly, Clifton adds: “That next day, Von Rumohr assigned a ‘buy’ rating to General Dynamics’ stock.”

RBC holds USD $57.7 million in Palantir Technologies Inc.

Just Peace Advocates has noted: “As of November 2021, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has 2,403,812 shares of Palantir Technologies Inc Class A (US:PLTR) with total holdings valued at $57,787,000 USD. The RBC holdings in Palantir have been steadily increasing quarter over quarter.”

They add: “Palantir provides Artificial Intelligence (AI) predictive system to Israeli security forces, to identify people in occupied Palestine.”

Earlier this month, Palantir Chief Executive Officer Alex Karp stated: “We are on the front lines fighting what amounts to evil.”

Scotiabank holds $500 million in Elbit Systems stock

Last year, Bloomberg reported: “Bank of Nova Scotia’s asset-management arm is facing scrutiny for being the largest foreign shareholder in a publicly traded Israeli defense contractor … Elbit Systems Ltd., which has been accused of manufacturing cluster munitions.”

Mondoweiss notes: “ In October 2022, Scotiabank’s asset fund put $500 million into Elbit Systems Ltd, which amounts to 5% of the company.”

Bank of Montreal subsidiary provided USD $90 million loan to Elbit

The Breach has also reported: “A Bank of Montreal (BMO) subsidiary loaned an estimated US$90 million in 2021 to a defence-tech company that makes weapons and surveillance equipment used by the Israeli military, The Breach has learned.”

Elbit reportedly provides up to 85 per cent of Israel’s land-based military equipment and approximately 85 per cent of its drones.

Beyond the role of banks, it also notable that:

INKAS received more than $247,000 in Canadian government subsidies

The Breach also notes: “A Canadian security and defence manufacturer with headquarters that were picketed by activists in Toronto on Monday [October 30] had a subsidiary in Israel that sold a wider range of combat equipment than it publicly advertised and boasted of sales to the Israeli government.”

That article explains: “INKAS Israel’s now-deleted website said that the company offered armoured vehicles, vehicle modification and composite materials. But the company also sold cyber warfare services and remotely controlled weapon stations, according to an Israel Ministry of Defence document published in 2018. Remotely controlled weapon stations are attached to tanks and light armoured vehicles to allow soldiers to shoot weapons like machine guns, grenades and cannons from the safety of their vehicles at a faster rate than they could shoot manually.”

And The Breach highlights: “INKAS’ various companies have received more than $247,000 in grants from the federal government since 2010, including $38,000 to develop its bulletproof vehicles, Government of Canada records show.”

The Canadian government spent approximately $500 million on the development of the Lockheed Martin F-35 warplane

Articles in The Jerusalem Post and inews suggest that Lockheed Martin F-35 Adir warplanes may be being used in the airstrikes against Gaza.

Earlier this month, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer noted that Canada has contributed approximately $0.5 billion to the development of the F-35 from 2010-11 to 2022-23. That figure could actually be closer to $955 million.

$96 million of Canadian “military goods” were sold to Israel over the past five years

The Government of Canada also produces an annual report on exports of “military goods”. A review of those reports over just the last five years shows that Canada exported $21,329,783.93 (in 2022), $26,092,288.99 (2021), $18,947,640.49 (2020), $13,744,727.53 (2019) and $15,950,952.12 (2018) in “military goods” to Israel.

The Canadian peace research institute Project Ploughshares, that backs the UN Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire, has also endorsed “the call by the Control Arms coalition for Arms Trade Treaty States Parties to halt the transfer of arms to parties to the conflict.”

World Beyond War is also calling on these companies with offices and manufacturing facilities in Canada to stop selling arms and military technology to Israel.

We will continue to monitor this situation and reiterate our call for a ceasefire.

PBI-Canada also organizes against the arming of repression by taking part in the annual mobilization against the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa. The next CANSEC is scheduled for May 29-30, 2024. For more on this, please see this World Beyond War webpage.

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