Israel's enemies are hijacking the responsible investment field.
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Dear Friends,

JLens mission is socially responsible investing (SRI) through a Jewish lens. SRI is a popular way to leverage investment capital for positive impact, and now represents over $59 trillion globally according to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Unfortunately SRI has also become a powerful platform for the anti-Israel BDS campaign to conduct economic warfare against Israel by influencing investor and corporate behavior. BDS stands for "Boycott, Divest, Sanction Israel."

Over the past decade, BDS activists have studied SRI tactics, attended conferences, and established alliances. Their efforts are paying off - investors and companies have started to divest or avoid business ties with Israel. Learn more from the JWeekly article: BDS in the Boardroom: Campus Protests Are Loud But Corporate Pressure Is More Effective.  

The Jewish community's absence from SRI has allowed BDS to infiltrate without resistance. To fight divestment, the Jewish community must understand divestment in the broader context of responsible investing. Divestment originates in the SRI field and reverberates outward - to college campuses, faith organizations, unions, governments, and public companies. JLens fights divestment by countering the malicious investment advice provided by BDS.

For example, the current Israel divestment resolution in Berkeley has been shepherded by BDS for the past year. The resolution's most damaging clause requires Berkeley to press for Israel divestment at CALPERS, the $300 billion CA state pension and a leader in the SRI field. This is true economic warfare with a sophisticated understanding of the power and influence of SRI. 

At the vote meeting last week, in a room packed with over 100 BDS activists, JLens testified about the true intentions of BDS and urged the City of Berkeley to learn about SRI strategies that support peace (full statement below). As a result, the vote was postponed to consider positive impact alternatives. 

To truly combat divestment, the Jewish community must have a long-term commitment to SRI similar to other faiths, and take an active role by speaking at conferences, participating in online forums, engaging at the UN and other bodies that dictate responsible investing/business policy, and establishing relationships with corporate social responsibility (CSR) teams. We are 10 years behind BDS but we can catch up quickly and defeat divestment. For the first time at JLens, we are asking Israel's supporters for donations to expand our SRI advocacy efforts on behalf of the Jewish community and Israel.

JLens is also overseeing the advocacy strategy for the first SRI mutual fund aligned with Jewish values, currently in development by leading Jewish foundations and organizations. The importance of this fund cannot be overstated. None of the 400+ SRI mutual funds in the US conduct pro-Israel advocacy in the SRI field, and many support BDS by divesting from companies with Israel ties and voting in favor of BDS-sponsored shareholder resolutions. Click to learn more about seed investor and advisory council positions for this ground-breaking endeavor 

By expanding our team and capabilities, JLens will be more effective at collaborating with other organizations to fight Israel divestment, and advocating for Jewish values in the SRI field. Thank you for your support.

Julie Hammerman  
Executive Director, JLens

Recent JLens News:
- Selected for The Slingshot List of Innovative Jewish Organizations
- Presented "Investing with Jewish Values" at JFNA Investment Institute

- Speaking on interfaith impact investing panels in Chicago and San Francisco
- Speaking on "New Strategies to Combat BDS" at JCPA Plenum
- Foundations, federations, pensions, nonprofits and donor-advised fund platforms in the Jewish community increase impact and next-gen engagement from JLens guidance on impact investing

JLens’ Public Testimony Opposing the City of Berkeley's Israel Divestment Resolution (September 16, 2015)
At the core of tonight’s resolution is an investment decision. My name is Julie Hammerman and I run JLens, a network of socially responsible Jewish investors. They care about the planet, so they invest in clean energy. They care about the homeless, so they invest in affordable housing. They care about peace and human rights, so they invest in solutions. They are too sophisticated to be fooled by the Israel divestment campaign.  
Divesting from companies that do business with Israel does nothing to resolve the conflict. It doesn’t bring the parties together, it doesn’t create trust and compromise. Rather the divestment campaign discriminates against the Jewish side in a two-sided dispute. If BDS activists truly cared about human rights, they wouldn’t tell you to ignore the many countries in the world with significantly worse human rights concerns compared to Israel. If they cared about socially responsible investing, they wouldn’t tell you that the Israel divestment campaign is superior to the fossil fuel divestment campaign, as was noted in the materials for tonight’s meeting. BDS activists have co-opted the powerful platform of socially responsible investing and the tool of divestment for one purpose – to destroy Israel. The handful of Jews speaking in favor of divestment tonight do not compare to the millions of Jews who are sickened by continued efforts to discriminate against the Jewish people. 
If Berkeley truly seeks peace, invest in Israeli-Palestinian business collaborations. If Berkeley cares about the Palestinians, invest in economic security, infrastructure, and job creation. If Berkeley cares about human rights, advocate with the companies you own to provide safe work, fair pay, and inclusive workplaces around the world. Berkeley can make a difference with your investments. But discriminatory campaigns against Jews, or anyone, is not in Berkeley’s DNA.

The BDS website Electronic Intifada summarized the decision to postpone the vote to consider positive investments, as suggested by JLens: 
Commission chair Praveen Sood proposed adding language to the resolution about positive investment and shareholder activism. But many in attendance saw this as an attempt to water the resolution down. Members of the public urged the commission to vote on the resolution as it was, to take a stand in solidarity with Davila, and not bend to the intimidation to which she had been subjected. In the end, the commission voted to continue to work on the resolution to incorporate Sood’s suggestions and bring it back at their next meeting. One audience member raised his voice and said, “This is a completely different resolution than the one Davila proposed.” While Sood insisted he was moving Davila’s resolution forward, there was a palpable sense of disappointment among many as they left the room.

Please donate to help JLens expand our ability to fight BDS

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