TIAA-CREF Confirms SodaStream Stock Holding in Latest Filing, Exposes BDS Fail

August 15, 2013 11:42 am 7 comments
TIAA-CREF statement, confirming that the $520 billion fund manager held its Soda Stream shares at June 30, denying BDS claims the stake was sold. Photo: Screenshot from TIAA-CREF filing.

The TIAA-CREF statement, confirming that the $520 billion fund manager held its Soda Stream shares at June 30, denying BDS claims the stake was sold for political reasons. Photo: Screenshot from TIAA-CREF filing.

TIAA-CREF, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund, which manages $520 billion on behalf of millions of teachers and other union members, confirmed on Thursday that, as of July 15, 2013, it held a significant stake in SodaStream International Ltd., denying claims from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that the fund manager had sold its shares in the Israeli company as a political protest.

A TIAA-CREF spokesman said that information provided in its second quarter filing of June 30, 2013, was accurate and that SodaStream shares were held during that period. The fund is prohibited by regulators to cite positions held within the past 30 days, but the spokesman was also able to confirm to The Algemeiner that SodaStream shares were still in its portfolio as of July 15, 2013, the last date it could disclose.

The spokesman said that while there was an element of truth in the BDS claim,  it was also, ultimately, inaccurate.  One TIAA-CREF fund, its Mid-Cap Growth fund, had sold its SodaStream shares as of its first quarter filing on Mar 31, 2013. But, within the second quarter, Soda Stream shares were bought by another TIAA-CREF portfolio, the  Growth & Income Fund, which continued to hold the shares, as of July 15.  Meanwhile, an institutional fund, called the General Account, which invests for the TIAA-CREF Traditional Annuity product and only reports its holdings once a year, was ignored by the BDS campaign: that TIAA-CREF portfolio has held its SodaStream shares continuously, including during the second quarter.

Last month, on July 15, the We Divest Campaign claimed in a statement that TIAA-CREF’s SodaStream shares were sold to protest against Israel in the international financial community. The Campaign said it was a coalition made up of support from other groups, including Adalah-NY, the American Friends Service Committee, Grassroots International, Jewish Voice for Peace, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and the US Palestinian Community Network.

TIAA-CREF, because of the many teachers, public sector and union employees who entrust their pensions to the company, has become a target of the BDS movement, which had hoped to sway their pension holders against Israel. But the fund manager has fought back to the approval of many Jewish clients of the New York City-based financial institution.

In May, TIAA-CREF won a ruling from the stock market regulator, allowing it to ignore BDS protesters who tried to hijack its annual shareholders meeting by insisting their anti-Israel claims be aired. In its brief, TIAA-CREF said the BDS proposal “attempts to embroil CREF in a highly controversial geopolitical dispute of enormous complexity where — unlike the Anti-Genocide Proposals [referring to the universally condemned situation in Sudan] — there is no broad consensus. United States companies are permitted to engage in business dealings in Israel and the West Bank. Indeed, the United States adopted laws designed to discourage and, in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting foreign boycotts of Israel.”

Readers of The Algemeiner whose pension funds are managed by TIAA-CREF expressed their approval and support of the company’s position.

“I am a US/Israeli TIAA-CREF member and was fearful that you might capitulate. I feel good that you understood your obligation,” E.S. Lombard wrote, directing his comment to the organization.

Reader Janet Truman wrote: ”I have been a participating person with earnings contributing to TIAA-CREF for years while working at a university. I would not want to remain associated with any organization that boycotts Israel.”

“I have some funds deposited with this organization, and I am right proud of them taking a stand for Israel,” added a reader named David.

The TIAA-CREF second quarter filing was flagged by anonymous blogger Elder of Ziyon on Thursday.

7 Comments

  • Slavery in Mauritania, one of many 100% Muslim nations, was legal and pervasive throughout its history. It finally outlawed slavery in 2007, but the holding of black slaves by lighter-skinned “Moors” there is still common. I’m waiting for any of these so-called “Concerned” groups to say boo about this.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    I hope that the boycotters continue to boycott Israeli products and inventions which are daily adding to the world’s knowledge of science, technology and means of fighting disease. I wonder if Israeli medical and science people found a definite cure for cancer, would these boycotters as a matter of principle decline the use of such medical technology in order to save themselves or a loved on? I say yes to boycott – to a nation which seeks to bring democratic values and human respect into wider use or shall they say yes to a people who denigrate women, still engage in slavery and for whom democratic institutions are as foreign as any idea can get? Rave on!

  • Just wondering why I have not heard the BDSer’s call for divestment from Egypt, Syria, Hamas, Lebanon, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, and all of the other oppressive regimes in the region. Why would they focus on the one democracy in the region, the country that provides full rights to minorities, that has a free press and a free judiciary, that respects women and gays, and that seeks peace and has offered concessions for years to get it, but that just happens to be the only Jewish-majority country in the world. What could possibly be the reason?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.