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Judges dismisses lawsuit that called for state to divest Israeli bonds

Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan has dismissed a lawsuit that called for the state of Minnesota to sell the $18 million in Israeli bonds held in the state's portfolio.

Four groups and 23 individuals filed the lawsuit in 2011, claiming that the bonds were supporting settlements in Palestine and other activities in the West Bank that had been deemed illegal under international law.

They also claimed that Minnesota law does not allow investments in foreign countries other than Canada.

Marrinan threw out the suit, ruling that the plaintiffs do not have standing to file the lawsuit, and said that "the authority to make social, political and economic policy decisions of the kind Plaintiffs complain about in this case resides with the Legislature and the SBI [State Board of Investment], not this Court."

Even if the plaintiffs did have standing, the judge said Minnesota law does allow the State Board of Investment to purchase international securities. 

Steve Hunegs, executive director of Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, issued a statement applauding the judge's dismissal of the suit:

"Divesting from the State of Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, one of our nation’s strongest allies, and an important trading partner for the State of Minnesota, is wrong. Minnesota’s investment in Israel reflects Israel’s strength in high technology, medical research, and agricultural innovation, which benefits all the people of Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world.

"Minnesota’s long standing investment in Israel bonds dates back to 1993.  The State’s support for Israel and its investment in Israel bonds is bipartisan and has been supported by successive governors from Gov. Arne Carlson to Gov. Mark Dayton."

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