Trinity College investing in UN-blacklisted Israeli firms

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has investments in UN-blacklisted Israeli companies.

One is in a company Norway excluded from its sovereign wealth fund because of its links to illegal West Bank settlements. Another is in a renewable energy company that illegally built a solar farm in the occupied territories.

TCD has defended the investments, claiming it does “not choose the companies that the fund managers invest in”. These latest revelations follow a report in Trinity News outlining the university’s research collaboration with a dozen Israeli companies. 

Illegal settlements and a UN blacklist 

The Trinity College Dublin Endowment Fund has invested in 13 Israeli companies, according to freedom of information records released earlier this month to the college's students' union president László Molnárfi.

Among these companies is Bank Leumi, which earlier this month froze UNRWA’s bank account.

The fund also has money invested in Shapir Engineering, a company that Norway excluded from its sovereign wealth fund in 2021 over its links to illegal settlements in the West Bank. 

The Norwegian Council on Ethics said it blacklisted Shapir Engineering “due to the unacceptable risk that the companies contribute to systematic violations of individuals’ rights in situations of war or conflict”.

Another company TCD has invested in built a solar farm in the West Bank. Energix, which has been accused of greenwashing, built the Golan Heights plant in 2015 in violation of international law.

These three Israeli companies, which TCD maintains investments in, feature on a UN blacklist.

The United Nations Human Rights Office 2020 report exposed 112 mostly Israeli companies involved in activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that “raised particular human rights concerns”.

Bank Leumi, Shapir Engineering and Energix were all found to be involved in “the supply of equipment, services or materials” for use in the West Bank or Gaza. 

When asked if it’s appropriate to invest in these controversial Israeli companies – including those with links to illegal settlements in the West Bank and a bank that has frozen UNRWA's accounts – a TCD spokesperson ignored the question. 

In response the spokesperson said, “Trinity's Endowment fund is a managed fund that is reviewed semi-annually.” The spokesperson also said Israeli stock represents a minor stake in the college’s overall holdings. 

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors