I don’t know how I missed it (the August doldrums I suppose), but the TIAA CREF divestment hoax turns out to have been the second time (at least) that BDSers have pulled the same stunt of trying to dress up normal, financial business decisions regarding the struggling Israel-Africa company into a story of major financial institutions caving in to the political demands of the divest-from-Israel crew.
While it is true that Israel-Africa company is involved with some small construction projects in controversial areas (such as Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood), it’s also true that the company announced a $340 million loss in Q2 of this year and was unsure how it was going to deal with $2 billion in outstanding debt. And, as you might guess, decisions by global financial institutions regarding whether to hold or sell Israel-Africa shares were being driven by the latter (financial) rather than the former (political) reasons.
Less than a month ago, it was the UK Investment firm Blackrock that was being touted by divestment champions as their latest and greatest win, claiming that the financial giant’s choice to shed its Israel-Africa shares was some kind of vindication of their BDS agenda. Needless to say, Blackrock firmly denied that their decision to sell shares in the struggling Israeli-Africa had anything to do with politics. This, apparently, did not prevent more press releases going out claiming another divestment “victory.” Nor did it prevent the BDS-niks from dipping into this well again by claiming another normal business decision (this time by TIAA CREF) to sell shares in a money-losing company was somehow done at the behest of divestment advocates.
One fraud (Hampshire) does not a trend make. Two frauds (Hampshire and Motorola) at least give us two dots to connect. But now we’re up to four dots (Hampshire, Motorola, Blackrock and TIAA CREF), not to mention the hilarious mis-interpretation of the words of the CEO of Caterpillar Tractor which clearly establishes not just a pattern, but the latest strategy of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement.”
Having failed to get a single college or university to divest in the Jewish state, having lost their few attempts to win a divestment victory with municipalities and unions, and now having lost the support of the Mainline Protestant community (once the flagship for the BDS enterprise), “Team Divestment” has been reduced to manufacturing pretend victories where none exist. The strategy seems to be to anticipate likely financial decisions (such as companies trying to get rid of their Israel-Africa shares as fast as possible, given the company’s huge losses and exposure in the real estate markets), send out press releases claiming that these normal business transactions actually represent political choices on the part of large institutions, and hope someone in the media takes the bait.
As I’ve noted before, inflating small victories is a reasonable way to try to build political momentum. But what is one to make of a “movement” that is trying to be built on pretend victories (Hampshire, Blackrock, Motorola, TIAA CREF) to cover up the real losses divestment has faced in every institution where it has been tried?