Campus Protests Over Gaza Open a Pandora’s Box for Wall Street Megabanks that Underwrote $8 Billion of Israel’s Bonds in March – Pam Martens and Russ Martens 5/6/24


The pro-Palestinian protestors on college and university campuses across the U.S. have opened a pandora’s box for the Wall Street megabanks that underwrite billions of dollars in Israel bonds – including $8 billion in March of this year – at a time when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct of the war in Gaza has come under broad condemnation.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is Jewish, described Netanyahu’s war operation as follows on the April 28 edition of CNN’s State of the Union:

“Right now, what Netanyahu’s right-wing, extremist and racist government is doing is unprecedented in the modern history of warfare. They have killed in the last six-and-a-half months 33,000 Palestinians, wounded 77,000, two-thirds of whom are women and children.

“They have destroyed over 60 percent of the housing. They have destroyed the health care system. They have destroyed the infrastructure, no electricity, very little water. And, right now, we are looking at the possibility of mass starvation and famine in Gaza.

“When you make those charges, that is not antisemitic. That is a reality. So, our job is to condemn Hamas, a terrorist organization that started this war, condemn in every form antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry. But we do have to pay attention to the disastrous and unprecedented humanitarian disaster taking place in Gaza right now.”

On February 12 of this year, President Joe Biden warned Israel against its plan to invade Rafah, a city in the southern portion of Gaza. Israel had previously ordered civilians in Gaza to uproot their families and relocate there for safety.

But less than a month after President Biden issued his warning, four megabanks on Wall Street underwrote $8 billion in bonds for Israel. Those banks are: BNP Paribas, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs. Citigroup’s Citibank is the fiscal agent, paying agent, transfer agent and registrar on the bonds.

This morning, Israel’s military has issued evacuation orders for Rafah, suggesting an attack there may be imminent. NPR reports the following this morning: “Since late March, Israeli air strikes have hit Rafah almost daily, killing nearly 300 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to hospital records and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.”

The megabanks on Wall Street are not the only facilitators of funding to Israel. According to a recent SEC filing by Israel, the U.S. has contractually pledged the following to Israel:

“Israel receives military assistance from the United States and has received economic assistance from the United States averaging approximately $3 billion per year since 1987, including by way of loan guarantees. U.S. foreign assistance to Israel has reduced by way of a phase-out of the U.S. Economic Support Fund, however, the level of its Foreign Military Financing assistance to Israel has increased. In 2016, the United States and Israel reached an agreement on a package of at least $38 billion in U.S. military aid over the course of 10 years ($3.8 billion per year).”

The same SEC document explains the U.S. loan guarantees on certain Israel bonds as follows:…

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