Harvard says it’s not divesting from Israel

Harvard says it’s not divesting from Israel

WASHINGTON — Harvard University said the sale of some of its investments in Israel was not politically motivated and it is not divesting from Israel.

Harvard spokesman John Longbrake told Foreign Policy that the university sold $39 million in stocks in five Israeli companies because Israeli stocks could no longer be considered part of the emerging markets portfolio, where they previously had been held.

“The university has not divested from Israel,” Longbrake said. “Israel was moved from the MSCI, our benchmark in emerging markets, to the EAFE index in May due to its successful growth. Our emerging markets holdings were rebalanced accordingly.”

He said Harvard is still invested in Israel but declined to go into specifics.

According to Foreign Policy, several of the stocks that were sold — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, NICE Systems, Check Point Software Technologies, Cellcom Israel and Partner Communications — were doing poorly.

Nevertheless, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine movement claimed a victory, according to Foreign Policy. The BDS campaign targets Israeli consumer, academic, cultural and sports organizations.

The Anti-Defamation League said the BDS campaign also claimed that Hampshire College divested from Israel in February 2009 — a claim that was rejected by the college.