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April 14, 2013 12:16 pm

Lawsuit Threatened if Major Equities Fund Goes Through With Boycott of Israel

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BDS protestors in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: wiki commons.

The Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) is threatening legal action against the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) if it chooses to adopt a resolution boycotting Israeli firms and investments.

Jewish Voice of Peace filed a shareholder proposal with the College Retirement Equities Fund on Feb. 8 that was signed by 200 investors, requesting that shareholders be allowed to vote on the issue at CREF’s July annual meeting.

In a letter sent to company executives Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Director of the Israel Law Center, wrote that “the racist resolution, if adopted, would place CREF in direct violation of New York and federal law.”

She added, “If it does permit the resolution to go to a vote, we hope that TIAA-CREF’s officers and directors ensure that the voting participants understand that the resolution demands that TIAA-CREF do something illegal and that, even if the resolution passes, TIAA-CREF will be unable to comply.”

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In 2011, Jewish Voice for Peace filed a similar shareholder proposal calling for CREF to divest from three companies doing business in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank — Caterpillar, Veolia Environment and Elbit. The matter was never heard by the CREF shareholders after CREF filed a complaint with the SEC.

According to the website Pensions and Investments, Sydney Levy, a spokesman for Jewish Voice for Peace, said the shareholder proposal was rewritten this year not to require divesture of a specific company.

TIAA-CREF is a Fortune 100 financial services group and the leading retirement provider for employees in the academic and medical fields, currently serving over 3.7 million people.

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  • ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS A BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL IS MY ENEMY. DSI WOULD BE HAPPIER AND FEEL SAFER IN ISRAEL THAN AMERICA AFTER WHAT OBAMA HAS DONE TO IT. I SUPPORT ISRAEL AND ALL SHE STANDS FOR. THE ISRAELIS ARE TOUGH AND FIGHT BACK NOW AND THAT IS WHAT UPSETS ANTI-SEMETICS OR COUNTRIES THAT ARE ENEMIES OF ISRAEL.

  • Elise Ronan

    It is my understanding that TIAA is the group that NY State uses to run their 529 program. I suggest that those who are in invested in that program let the governor and state legislature know. In fact I would think that Shurat Ha Din might like to have a word with Cuomo themselves.

  • asdf

    The Israel whathever is threatening.

  • stephen sobczak

    I strongly object to this uninformed handling of a complex situation that has existed “from time immemorial”. If this proceeds I will be removing my funds and encouraging my coworkers (many of whom see the situation in the complex terms it requires) to do so also.

  • JOHN TRAIN

    I am a member of TIAA.

    Some years ago they stopped writing life insurance for those planning to visit Israel. I pointed out to them that I was far less safe in Washington DC than in Israel. I challenged their actions. A vice president was supposed to get back to me and never did.

    If you need a member of TIAA for legal action have the editor contact me (he has my e-mail address) and I will be glad to provide this service for you.

    Only strong action will convince these people. Courtesy and reason does not work.

  • Judy Siler-Shapiro

    The fact that BDS is still in business is more then despicable. The fact that some of their strongest advocates are self-loathing Jews is more then deplorable.
    What BDSers do is legitizmie terror and hate crimes against Jews in the US, Israel and internationally while they embolden most of the world’s 1.6 BILLION muslims and other ANTI SEMITEs.

    • Judy Silver-Shapiro

      CORRECTION:

      My name

      Judy Silver-Shapiro

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