Amid reports the London-based international financial giant HSBC bank will divest from Israeli defense contractor Elbit, the former said that the move is not in support of BDS, rather due to a company policy not to invest in firms that produce cluster munitions.

“HSBC’s decision to divest from Elbit Systems was not the result of campaigning by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and it is not indicative of support for the movement’s objectives,” Stuart Levey, HSBC’s chief legal officer and group managing director, told The Jerusalem Post.

“HSBC’s decision was based on our long-standing defense policy whereby we do not invest in companies linked to the production or marketing of cluster munitions. We test our shareholdings against this policy, assisted by an external, evidence-based ratings provider,” he continued.

“Following a recent acquisition by Elbit Systems, our investment in the company is no longer consistent with our defense policy with respect to cluster munitions, and Elbit Systems joins a number of other companies, including some major U.S. defense contractors, that are impacted by this policy,” he added. “This development is what prompted HSBC Asset Management to divest its shareholding in the company held in a passively managed fund. That shareholding was valued at approximately $600k and represented 0.01% of the total issued share capital of the company.”

Levey also mentioned that HSBC’s branch in Tel Aviv will remain open.