No, Harvard Didn’t Divest from Israel

They simply moved the Israeli holdings from one fund to another. At least, that is the explanation offered up by Harvard Management Corporation spokesman, John Longbrake:

The Management Company’s most recent SEC filing details changes in holdings, as is routine, but no change in policy. The University has not divested from Israel. 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. We have holdings in developed markets, including Israel, through outside managers in commingled accounts and indexes, which are not reported in the filing in question.

The Harvard divestment story has been all over the web for the last few days. Various voices have been either praising or condemning the move. Typically, anything to do with Israel lights up the news, of course. And for many years, various groups have been pushing Harvard and other leading universities to divest from Israel. Perhaps this explains the traction the story of Harvard’s supposed divestment gained in the media. But it looks to have been entirely inaccurate and overblown. Unless someone can prove Harvard is lying, it’s a non-story.

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