HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Fund sells all Israeli stocks 15Aug10 August 16, 2010

Palestine Note -  15 August 2010

Harvard University informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday that it sold all its holdings in Israeli companies.

The Harvard Management Company, which manages the university’s endowment, noted in a filing with the SEC on Friday that it sold its shares of a number of Israeli firms.

The news was reported by the Israeli business publication Globes:

In another blow to Israeli shares, the Harvard Management Company notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday that it had sold all its holdings in Israeli companies during the second quarter of 2010. No reason for the sale was mentioned. The Harvard Management Company manages Harvard University’s endowment.

Harvard Management Company stated in its 13-F Form that it sold 483,590 shares in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) for $30.5 million; 52,360 shares in NICE Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: NICE; TASE:NICE) for $1.67 million; 102,940 shares in Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) for $3.6 million; 32,400 shares in Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) for $1.1 million, and 80,000 Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) shares for $1.8 million.

Harvard Management Company’s 13-F Form shows some interesting investments. Its two largest holdings, each worth $295 million, are in iShares ETFs, one on Chinese equities, and the other on emerging markets. Harvard also owns $181 million in a Brazilian ETF.

American journalist Max Blumenthal noticed the report and wondered aloud about the reason for the divestment on Twitter.

The university gave no reason for the stock sale. Some have pointed to growing campaigns calling on Harvard and other universities to divest from Israel on moral grounds over Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

In May the student governments at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego debated resolutions that would mandate divestment from US companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

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