A pro-Palestinian group reported Friday that the move was in protest against the firm's business ventures in the West Bank.
The statements came in response to a letter initiated by Adalah-NY (the New York office of the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) and signed by TIAA-CREF clients.
The fund's investment in Africa Israel amounted to only $257,000, so the financial effect of the divestment is minimal. The news of the divestment came as the Israeli firm was suffering a deep financial crisis, having recently announced that is unable to meet its liabilities to its bondholders.
Officials at Adalah-NY claim that TIAA-CREF made the decision after the organization presented data on Africa Israel's activities in the West Bank.
Adalah NY noted in its press release that "Despite the recent divestment from Africa-Israel, the new June 30th TIAA-CREF report indicates that the fund continues to invest clients' money in a number of companies supporting Israeli settlement activity including Israel Discount Bank, Cellcom Israel, Bezeq Israeli Telecommunications Corp, Bank Leumi, and Motorola, among others."
Earlier this month the Norwegian government announced it was pulling all of its investments from Elbit Systems, which manufactures the monitoring system installed on several parts of the West Bank separation fence.
Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said that the decision was based on the recommendation of her ministry's council. "We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international
humanitarian law," Halvorsen was quoted as saying, explaining that the separation barrier impinged on the freedom of movement of West Bank residents.