JUF calls out BDS 'lies'

Responding to reports and claims by anti-Israel groups that one of the nation's largest pension and retirement fund firms, TIAA-CREF, had divested from Caterpillar because of the company's sales to Israel, JUF has labeled the claims to be "lies."

"This ... is a big lie woven from a grain of truth," JUF said in a statement. "TIAA-CREF's Social Fund did divest yesterday from Caterpillar, but not because of anything to do with Israel. The fund relies upon another firm's Socially Responsible Investment Index, and Caterpillar was added to that company's 'divest from' roster due to some on-going labor disputes at one of its Canadian plants. TIAA-CREF still holds Caterpillar stock in its other funds."

JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath said the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign "is, at its core, about delegitimizing Israel, and the only way they can advance that agenda is by fabricating facts on the ground."

In a separate statement, Geri Palast, managing director of JFNA's Israel Action Network, asked "What about the facts? For one, Caterpillar doesn't sell to Israel. Second, MSCI (creator of the index) and TIAA-CREF's actions have nothing to do with Israel, Palestinians or BDS. Yesterday's press release just illustrates how far pro-BDS groups will go. They will not be encumbered by truth."

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