TIAA divestment from Africa-Israel
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TIAA divestment from Africa-Israel

An open letter was published by 59 clients of TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, College Retirement Equities Fund) calling for divestment from Lev Leviev’s Africa-Israel due to the company’s involvement in settlement construction. Following its publication, TIAA announced that it had already divested from Africa-Israel.

The letter to TIAA-CREF was signed by historian Howard Zinn, professors Noam Chomsky, Saree Makdisi from UCLA, George Bisharat from UC Hastings, Joel Beinin from Stanford University, Juan Cole from the University of Michigan, Sherna Berger Gluck of California State University, Long Beach, and longtime TIAA-CREF activist and professor Neil Wollman.

Following the publication of the letter, TIAA announced that it had already divested some $257,000 from Africa-Israel, sometime before June 30, 2009.

Critics of the initiative and of Adalah – NY, which as been the leader of the Leviev boycott, allege that the divestment has no relation to either the letter or the BDS movement. This position, however, ignores the fact that Adalah – NY has built an extremely high-profile campaign, raising wide-spread awareness about Leviev’s practices, leading Oxfam and UNICEF to distance themselves from the company; the UK government to refuse to rent from Leviev; and this month for BlackRock to divest from Africa-Israel.

That TIAA divested from the company earlier this year is in indication that Leviev and his enterprises with settlement construction are becoming well known as a result of BDS efforts. This, along with Africa-Israel’s rising debts and falling stock price, will only facilitate other divestment campaigns.

Despite the recent divestment from Africa-Israel, TIAA-CREF report indicates that the fund continues to invest clients’ money in a number of companies supporting the Occupation military and settlement activity, including Israel Discount Bank, Cellcom Israel, Bezeq Israeli Telecommunications Corp, Bank Leumi, and Motorola, among others.