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Minnesota: Protesters demand Gov. Walz to divest from Elbit now

By Austin Jensen |
September 17, 2019
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Protest at Governor's residence to demand the divestment of Elbit Systems.
Protest at Governor's residence to demand the divestment of Elbit Systems. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

St. Paul, MN - Over 40 people protested in front of the Governor's Residence Monday, September 16, to demand the divestment of Elbit Systems by the State of Minnesota. The protest, which was organized by the Anti-War Committee, is the latest action in their current campaign to demand the divestment of Elbit Systems from the state’s public retirement fund. Currently the Minnesota State Board of Investments, which Governor Tim Walz chairs, holds $1.2 million, or approximately 10,000 shares, in Elbit Systems.

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest weapons company, which has been contracted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to further militarize the U.S.- Mexico border by installing “Integrated Fixed Towers” security systems; the same border militarization technology that has been deployed against the Palestinian people.

Kane Widlicka, who spoke on behalf of the Anti-War Committee, explained, “We are not here to negotiate with apartheid, we are here to abolish it. The Anti-War Committee sees a particular connection on the war being waged by U.S.-funded Israel against Palestinians, and the war being waged against refugees of U.S. caused economic and violence crisis in Mexico. We see the connection between the war on Palestinians and the refugees because the systems that causes both is funded by and benefits the U.S. government.”

Erika Zurawski representing the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) broke down how “Elbit systems is violating the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and violating the sovereignty of the native lands here in the United States. It is important that Governor Walz, who said he supported a pro-immigrant agenda when he was elected, knows that this is an anti-immigrant company."

Mariam El-Khatib, representing the Minnesota chapter of American Muslims for Palestine, said, “It's become easy now to figure out what side you’re on. You either support walls or you don't. You either support kids being in cages or you don’t. You either support immigrant rights or you don't. Just talk to people - because most people are gonna want to stand on the right side of the street.”

Chants and messages during the protest included, “From Palestine to Mexico, Elbit Systems has got to go!” “Divest from Elbit!” and “Walz, stop funding walls!”

The MN Anti-War Committee’s next event is a BDS/border militarization teach-in and new members meeting at 4200 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis at 7 p.m. on September 25.