Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →