April 24, 2019, ParisÂ – This afternoon, before AXAâs Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Palais des CongrĂ¨s in Paris, over 50 activists from the Coalition to Stop AXA Assistance to Israeli Apartheid gathered outside, and called on AXA to divest from Israeli apartheid.
AXA invests, through its subsidiary AXA IM, in five top Israeli banks which serve as the backbone of Israelâs illegal settlements through the financial services they provide. AXAâs subsidiary, Â Alliance Bernstein, also holds shares in the Israeli banks and in the Israeli weapons producer Elbit Systems.
Though French police tried to ban the protest and deny rights of assembly and free speech, activists managed to stay in front of the Palais des CongrĂ¨s for over 20 minutes holding a 10-metre-long banner reading âStop AXA Assistance to Israeli apartheid.”Â Speeches were made by Jean-Guy Greilsamer de Union Juive FranĂ§ais pour la Paix, Olivier Schulz and Imen Habib from BDS France, Alys Samson from the BDS National Committee, and Verveine Angeli from Solidaires. Activists also wore blue hats, the colour of AXA, and said that Â if they were AXA shareholders, they would call to end these investments.
Before having to leave due to police repression, dozens of informational leaflets documenting AXAâs unethical investments were handed out to shareholders.
Imen Habib from BDS FranceÂ said:
Even though, thanks to grassroots mobilisation, one of AXAâs subsidiaries, AXA IM, recently divested from Elbit Systems, the campaign against AXAâs unethical investments will continue until AXA no longer finances the Israeli banks that fund Â Israelâs settlements and fully divests from Elbit Systems, which tests weapons on the Palestinian people.
Alys Samson, Europe Coordinator for Â the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)Â said:
Supporting the Paris protest, today many supporters of freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians worldwide joined in a tweetstorm calling on AXA to end its investments in Israeli banks and Elbit Systems. Using AXAâs #ProudToBeAXA hashtag, they affirmed that the French insurer cannot be proud of its activities until AXA ends its role in the oppression of the Palestinian people.