Your Daily Phil: The highest per-capita charity bike ride in the world + A pluralistic teen Havruta – eJewish Philanthropy

Posted By on August 18, 2022

Good Wednesday morning!

In todays Your Daily Phil,we have a write-up on Jewish efforts to reduce anti-Israel bias in the investing world, and a story about Bike4Chai, billed as the highest per-capita charity bike ride in the world. Rabba Claudia Marbach, director of Hebrew Colleges Teen Beit Midrash, shares her view on Jewish teen engagement.

Jewish organizationsare pushing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to reduce anti-Israel bias in financial markets by requiring that investment firms explain how they assign environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings to companies.

Israel deserves to be heldto the same standards as every other country, whether its at international bodies or in financial ratings, Eric Fingerhut, CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America, said in a statement toeJewishPhilanthropy. We hope the SEC fulfills its responsibility to regulate financial institutions fairly and ensure they dont become party to discrimination and falsehoods.

ESG ratingsare used to help investors direct their money to ostensibly ethical companies and funds, but have come under fire for being subjective, and at times misleading. As a result, the SEC proposeda new ruleto have investment funds explain clear goals for ESG investment strategies, and to tell investors the funds progress on reaching those goals.

JFNA, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and The Louis D. Brandeis Center For Human Rights Under Lawsubmitted public comments arguing that the SEC rule doesnt go far enough in addressing the unreliability of ESG ratings, and urging more specific disclosures from funds about how they source the ratings.

The organizations are concernedabout how the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel has been integrated into some ESG ratings. In the case of one investment firm, Chicago-based Morningstar, several investigations show it purposefully gave poor ESG ratings to companies for being Israeli. Morningstar ran afoul of Illinois anti-BDS law, butavoided beingblacklisted on the condition that the firm address anti-Israel bias.

The new rulemakingwill require transparency across the board, and we are asking the SEC specifically to require ESG-related funds that focus on the social aspect of ESG to tell investors how they derive ratings for such companies, how they check for and eliminate anti-Israel bias in their sources, and whether they include anti-Semitism on their human rights radar, said L. Rachel Lerman, vice chair and general counsel of the Brandeis Center, in a statement to eJP.

As part of its filing,the AJC also noted that it had an interest in ESG disclosures because of its nearly $150 million endowment, writing that the SEC rule, even as proposed, [is] essential to allow AJC to have visibility into its investments.

People have the rightto urge their moral vision on companies in which they invest, said AJCs chief legal officer, Marc D. Stern, in a statement to eJP. But other people have a right to know of those efforts, and to oppose them to the extent that they affect their own investment decisions, whether because they dont want to support that boycott, or because those efforts might trigger state anti-boycott laws.

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Your Daily Phil: The highest per-capita charity bike ride in the world + A pluralistic teen Havruta - eJewish Philanthropy

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