Harvard BDS Hoax Update

Well great, big, fat surprise: the latest divestment “victory” celebrated across the BDS ether, the Great Harvard Divestment “triumph,” turns out to be yet another hoax (the biggest one so far this year).

I was beginning to think that the divestnistas had put hoaxes behind them after spending so much time last year shredding their credibility with embarrassing frauds regarding Hampshire, TIAA-CREF and Blackrock. But given the nature of the Harvard story, I’m beginning to think that someone in the BDS world knows enough about business and finance to anticipate purely economic decisions (the turnover of assets in the Hampshire portfolio, the abandoning of collapsing Israel-Africa real-estate stock by institutional investors, the transfer of Israeli stocks out of an emerging market fund once Israel is no longer classified an emerging market) so that they can pounce and claim that these ordinary business transactions actually represent political divestment from the Jewish state.

The Harvard story reveals three things about the current state of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement”:

1. The sheer transparency of this year’s fraud (whereby a third-party moving Israeli assets out of an emerging market fund somehow translates to a Harvard-related political divestment decision) means the BDS crew must be absolutely convinced that everyone else is an absolute idiot. After all, Harvard doesn’t maintain its own emerging market fund. It invests in someone else’s. Yet the divestment crew seems to think that if they put the words “Harvard,” “Israel” and “divestment” into the same press release, they will find some media outlet (and some percentage of the public) ready to believe that this represents their first success at academic divestment.

2. For years, BDSers have been telling anyone that would listen that their divestment and boycott activities were targeted specifically at companies “benefiting from the occupation” (whatever that means). But once they got a list of Israeli companies “sold” by the emerging marketing fund owned by Harvard, it took them no time to invent rationales why Israeli companies never targeted for BDS treatment (or mentioned) before suddenly became part of Israel’s “machinery of repression.” Consider that the next time someone tells you BDS is highly limited, focused and thought through.

3. The most ironic part of this whole story is that the very event upon which the boycotters are hanging their latest “victory” (the removal of Israeli companies from an emerging market listing) is a demonstration of the phenomenal success of the Israeli economy (also testified by Israel’s recent joining of the OECD), a success which unfurled during the very decade that BDS has been tirelessly working to undermine Israeli’s economy.

As a final point, a big shoutout to everyone involved with exposing this latest divestment hoax in record time. Remember last year when the Hampshire story was allowed to linger for weeks? No longer.

I may have spotty Internet for the next couple of days, so anyone with new information is free to post it in the comments section. Or better yet, communicated it far and wide across the ether so that the next time BDS comes knocking at someone’s door bragging about its latest success, people will understand what nonsense they are truly peddling.

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3 Responses to Harvard BDS Hoax Update

  1. Anonymous August 17, 2010 at 3:15 am #

    It is a fact of human psychology that people will remember an initial statement much clearer and longer than they will remember the clarifying information added to that statement later, even if the clarifying information disproves the initial statement.

    So “Harvard divests from Israel” will lodge in people's minds, but “Harvard's fund manager shifted investments from Israeli companies into a different portfolio management segment” will never catch hold.

    The way to fight it is with a new simple truth: “Israel's economy benefits from $X million in international investment” or whatever the facts happen to be. Or perhaps, “No US academic institution has divested from Israel.”

  2. AKUS August 17, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    “The listed firms include AHAVA cosmeceutical company, Galil textile industries, Dorot Garlic and Herbs seasoning products, all based in Israel.”

    Dorot is a kibbutz near Sderot whose factory for processing garlic etc. is owned by the kibbutz and not traded on any stock exchange. As it happens, some of the garlic comes from China because demand has outstripped the kibbutz's ability to grow its own and get local supplies.

    Harvard could not have owned any shares of Dorot's business, nor divested them.

    By the way – cooks go crazy over the convenient little frozen cubes of spices – if you haven't tried them yet, you should get some at Trader Joe or Harris Teeter, or your local kosher store.

  3. Jon August 18, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Dear Anonymous – I agree with you, which is why I recommend that the words people should associated with this story is “BDS, hoax, exposed, AGAIN!”

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