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May 11, 2009
States divest from companies doing business with terrorists
It will never get the publicity that divestment from companies doing business with South Africa got (or divestment from companies doing business with Israel), but there is a move afoot in state government to refuse to give business or invest in companies that do business with terrorist states as this editorial in the Washington Times informs us:
Indiana and Florida are joining an honor roll of other states, including California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, that have adopted laws to divest. The divestment effort is being catalyzed by a group called Divest Terror, which is a subsidiary of the D.C.-based Center for Security Policy.
"The cumulative effect has been to withhold billions of dollars ... to take away the corporate life support for the ayatollahs and other terrorist nations," said Divest Terror's director, Christopher Holton. "And state legislators are empowering themselves to say to the terrorists, 'No, not with our taxpayers' money, no way.' "
These admirable efforts demonstrate how Americans across the country can take the fight to terrorist states, no matter what policies emanate from the nation's capital.
While the billions of dollars withheld is significant symbolism, it hardly makes a dent in overseas investment in Iran and Syria by western companies. It will really start to hurt when some of the big funds on Wall Street take up the challenge and refuse to include these companies in their portfolios.
The same thing happened with South Africa a generation ago. And while the effect of divestment on South African race policies is debated to this day, at the very least, it puts the participants in the divestment movement on the record as opposing the funding of terrorism.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky