Erste Group Bank AG, a major financial institution in Austria, with ties to Eastern Europe, has declined to close accounts that it maintains for an organization that seeks a global ban on imports of goods from territories within the State of Israel. This could prove a problem for the bank's New York branch, for pending legislation in the State of New York forbids it from having any business with any entity that seeks to ban goods from Judea & Samaria, which Israel recovered in 1967 from Jordan.
US banks whose clients do business in Austria & Central and Eastern Europe will do well to monitor the progress of the legislation, and to reduce any financial exposure they, or their clients have to Erste at this time. While there is no guarantee that the legislation will cause the bank branch to close, do not underestimate the power of public opinion; New Yorkers believe in free speech, but they also support taking action against Anti-semitism, in any form.
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