Ackerman Blasts NYU Israel-Divestment Push

October 15, 2011
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, today issued the following statement blasting the 72 New York University (NYU) faculty members who signed a letter urging the President/CEO of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) to “divest funds from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.”

“I strongly condemn the ill-conceived and dangerous effort by some of the professors and staff at NYU to instigate divestment from American and Israeli companies by TIAA-CREF. While they have managed to assemble a pastiche of smears and falsehoods against Israel, they have not actually come up with anything resembling a sound rationale for divestment.
The faculty and staff who signed the open letter to TIAA-CREF claim the companies they list are profiting from the so-called ‘occupation of Palestinian territories.’ What they actually seem to be most upset about is that these companies and the goods they produce, enable Israel, the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East and a staunch American ally, to defend itself, protect its citizens and fight back against relentless terrorist assault targeting Israeli civilians.
Strangely, there is not a word of concern in their letter about the many thousands of Israelis who have been murdered or maimed by rockets falling on their homes, bombs going off on their buses or by suicide bombers slipping into restaurants and religious celebrations. Likewise, no word is mentioned about the declared, and often repeated, intent of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and their radical allies to destroy Israel altogether. Should we assume these erudite employees of NYU forgot, omitted or are actually ignorant of this essential fact? Surely these exceptional educators wouldn’t cherry-pick the facts to present only one side of a complex issue.
They also fail to mention the importance of diplomacy to achieve peace between Israel and her neighbors. Despite their claimed attachment to international law, they seem entirely oblivious to the clear mandate for peace to be achieved through direct negotiation between the parties as established by relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Unjustified economic warfare on Israel seems to be much more to their liking than the actual slow and hard work of peacemaking.
Perhaps they would like to see the U.S. government adopt their preferred approach when it comes to the funding of university research? Would they like federal dollars to be ‘divested’ from universities whose research or policy preferences don’t accord with the Administration’s view? Assuredly, they would cry out how unfair such a policy would be; how egregious the injustice of punishing an entire group for the unpopular choices of a few.
Moreover, blinded by their ill-informed and self-righteous rage, these want-to-be divesters also blithely overlook the obvious moral failure inherent in punishing American companies because of the way Israel allegedly used their products. Perhaps Ford, GM and Chrysler should be held accountable if their cars are used for drive-by shootings, or bank heists? Maybe Dell and Apple should be punished too for their products use in activities with which the professors disapprove?
It would take a great deal of education to rationalize such utter nonsense. But somehow, I feel sure this bunch at NYU will manage it.”
TIAA-CREF is a Fortune 100 financial services company that is a leading provider for retirement benefits to those from the academic, research, medicaland cultural fields. Click the following link to see the letter:… via