Press Release

ADL Expands Capabilities to Combat BDS & Antisemitism in ESG

ADL brings JLens, the leading Jewish impact investing organization, under its umbrella

New York, NY, November 10, 2022 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today announced that it will incorporate JLens, the leading Jewish values-based investor network, to expand its participation and advocacy in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement -- also known as impact investing -- and to fight efforts by some activists to push for anti-Israel and antisemitic policies in this movement. 
“ESG is the latest frontier in the fight against antisemitism, with radical Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists trying to push their agenda,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “As underscored by the many companies that recently cut ties with Kanye West after his antisemitic tirades, corporate advocacy is an important tool for improving society. It’s time for the Jewish community to take a seat at the table to use our power as institutional investors to ensure corporations are aligned with our values, and don’t fall for antisemitic pressures – that’s why we are incorporating JLens, the leading Jewish organization on these issues.” 
Since its launch in San Francisco in 2012, JLens has had a strong track record in promoting socially responsible investing with a Jewish values lens. The non-profit organization has also mobilized the Jewish community to advance impact investing and corporate social responsibility. Over 30 North American Jewish Institutions have invested nearly $200 million in JLens’ Jewish Advocacy Strategy, an investment option that advocates with companies for Jewish communal concerns. JLens will become an official project of ADL, and JLens employees will continue their work under the ADL umbrella. ADL plans to invest some of its funds into JLens’ investment strategy. 
“I’m so proud of the successes JLens has had bringing Jewish values into the investment arena over the past decade,” said Julie Hammerman, JLens CEO and Founder. “ADL’s strategic approach to advocacy and coalition building aligns with JLens’ approach. ADL’s expertise and convening power will propel JLens’ work forward to advance Jewish leadership in impact investing, and elevate Jewish communal concerns through investor advocacy.”  

The BDS movement targets companies connected to Israel through shareholder advocacy, advisory firms, and pressure campaigns. Specifically, BDS activists have attempted to hijack the ESG movement, a significant and growing segment of the capital markets. For example, according to ADL research, during this year’s shareholder proxy season, 8 of the 20 social issue resolutions explicitly targeting foreign countries named Israel – making the country second only to China.  

JLens has built relationships with more than 300 public companies and collaborates with other impact investors on shared values. As part of JLens’ work on a range of Jewish social and environmental values, the organization encourages companies to expand their economic ties with Israel and actively counteracts the BDS campaign by educating responsible investors and companies before they yield to pressure and divest their Israeli investments. For example, JLens filed the first anti-BDS shareholder resolution against Morningstar, ultimately leading the company to adopt significant changes to remove anti-Israel bias and BDS support from the company’s products and services. 
This development follows ADL’s ongoing work with private sector leaders to fight antisemitism. ADL recently worked closely with Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, to correct its decision to stop selling ice cream in Israel, and with AirBnB to reverse its policy of de-listing Jewish homes in the West Bank. 
“The recent high-profile examples of companies publicly announcing anti-Israel moves are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Greenblatt. “In working with JLens, we hope to be able to prevent such actions before they even take off.”

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.