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The death toll of Israel's genocidal assault on Gaza is staggering: 30,000 civilians killed, 12,000 of whom are children. Almost 70,000 have been injured, more than 7,000 are missing and an unimaginable number are trapped under metric tons of rubble with no way out.

This is the reality of Israel's actions in Gaza. And it is a reality made possible by the funding provided by institutions like the Minnesota State Board of Investment (SBI), chaired by Gov. Tim Walz, which funds Israel's genocide with Minnesotans' pensions and taxpayer dollars.

Minnesota's SBI manages $138.2 billion in assets, largely pension funds for public employees. Of that, $94 million is invested directly into the state of Israel itself as well as Israeli corporations that exploit the normalized ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Instead of our money being used to support our local communities, it's being used to pay for bombs, guns and bullets. Almost 12,000 children have been martyred, due in part to Minnesotan money — making this a local issue.

It is a local issue when our nurse's retirement plans are used to fund Bank Leumi, which deals in Palestinian land stolen at gunpoint. It is a local issue when firefighter pensions are invested in Elbit Systems, an Israeli weapons manufacturer that produces internationally banned chemical weapons that melt flesh and char bone. It is a local issue when our teachers, who are struggling to pay for crayons, notebooks and tissues for their classrooms, are paying for the mass murder of school-aged children in Gaza. By the time Minnesota public school teachers retire, their pension payments are soaked in the blood of children.

The SBI claims to keep politics out of financial decisionmaking. This is not true. A decision to invest in apartheid Israel is as political as a decision to divest. But let's set aside the 10 Palestinian children who need to go through limb amputations each day with no access to anesthetic medication in medical facilities that are under constant gunfire. Why are we using Minnesota money to prop up an economy that plummeted 19.4% in the fourth quarter? Why are we using Minnesota money to prop up a country whose credit rating was just downgraded? Why are we using Minnesota money to prop up a country that is losing more and more global trade partners every time we look at the news? When investors and governments around the world are cutting ties with Israel to financially protect themselves, why are we continuing to risk Minnesota's money?

The SBI can pull and protect our money. It's done so before. When the world was pulling money from apartheid South Africa, the SBI decided that investing in apartheid was not morally or financially responsible and made the right choice: In 1985, it began to pull Minnesota's money. Any investment in a company that aided or abetted the enforcement of apartheid was on the chopping block.

The enforcement of apartheid in Israel is so cruel that South African Ambassador Vusi Madonsela described it to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as "an even more extreme form of the apartheid that was institutionalized against Black people in my country." If these same SBI guidelines were still applied, a multitude of complicit companies would be up for divestment. If the SBI of the past was willing to both stand on the right side of history and protect Minnesota's pension money, why do the present SBI members refuse to do the same for apartheid Israel?

The tide is turning for Israel, politically and economically. On Jan. 26, the United Nations' ICJ ruled that Israel must immediately take action to prevent genocidal violence on the part of its troops. Multiple nations have cut diplomatic ties with Israel, such as South Africa, Brazil and Belize, and others have withdrawn their ambassadors. Locally, the Minneapolis City Council passed a historic cease-fire resolution that included clauses to "advance a full, immediate, and permanent ceasefire" and "support an end to U.S. military funding to the State of Israel, and an end to U.S. tax dollars contributing to humanitarian catastrophe and loss of life." It is time for the SBI to divest.

Andrew Josefchak, Lina Jebara and Jack Bennett are members of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee.