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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TIA-CREF Divestment Hoax?

An earlier article claimed that the TIA-CREF pension fund had divested from the Africa-Israel company because of the anti-Israel boycott campaign. This news initiated a flurry of activity by Israel advocates including a letter writing campaign to TIA-CREF. Alert commenters have pointed out that the information may have been the result of a hoax perpetrated by the Boycott and Divestment campaign. The situation is a bit murky.
A press release evidently published by TIA-CREF stated:
TIAA-CREF no longer owns shares in Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. A letter dated September 11 from the Coalition for Justice in the Middle East calls on TIAA-CREF to sell shares in that company, which the signatories allege builds and maintains homes in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
While a small number of shares of Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. were held in the CREF Stock Account, since June 30, 2009 they are no longer held in the Account following their removal from an emerging markets index that the Account tracks, as part of a regular rebalancing.
The press release used to be at but it is not there any more. It is still in the Google cache. The reason for removal of the press release is not clear.
An article in Haaretz Newspaper does not mention the TIA-CREF press release or the possibility that the "divestment" was a hoax as of today. Africa-Israel has been suffering severe financial difficulties.
Ami Isseroff 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


  • The one thing that is clear is that TIAA CREF (or, more specifically, an emerging markets fund that is part of the organization's portfolio) sold their Israel-Africa shares ($250,000 worth) four months before receiving any request by divestment activists.

    It is not clear whether multiple storirs and press releases claiming TIAA CREF divested for political reasons are an intentional hoax, or just a mis-understanding of something commonly known as "cause and effect."

    There have been "hoaxing" incidents all year with divestment advocates claiming that normal financial decisions by organizations such as Hampshire College, Motorola and now TIAA CREF were actually political decisions by these organizations. To date, however, not one of these supposed "political divestors" has made any statement supporting this interpretation of their investment/divestment decisions, lending credence to the notion that stories like the recent TIAA CREF flap is, in fact, a hoax.

    By Blogger Site Owner, At September 15, 2009 5:36:00 PM GMT+00:00  

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