Popular Articles

Law Firm, Sponsor of Israel ‘Apartheid’ Event, Exonerated Morningstar Of Anti-Israel Bias

Morningstar being investigated in 19 states for pro-BDS bias

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

White & Case is advertised as sponsoring University of Chicago Law School’s “Apartheid: International Law in the Israel-Palestine Conflict,” where calls were made to prosecute Israel in international bodies. (Image: University of Chicago Law Society, Human Rights Law Society and Southwest Asian and North African Law Students Association.)

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

(JNS) While under investigation in 20 states for anti-Israel bias, Chicago-based investment firm Morningstar repeatedly pointed to an independent report purportedly absolving it of such behavior. But White & Case, the law firm that authored the report, was listed this week as a sponsor of a program at the University of Chicago’s Law School that featured a virulently anti-Israel activist and perpetuated the notion that Israel practices apartheid.

A flyer for the program held on Oct. 12, entitled “Apartheid: International Law in the Israel-Palestine Conflict,” revealed White & Case’s involvement. The event was initiated by Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), in order to present his organization’s 2021 report declaring Israel an apartheid state. HRW has long been accused, including by the organization’s founder, of placing a disproportionate focus on and harboring institutional animus towards Israel.

An advertisement for the event “Apartheid: International Law in the Israel-Palestine Conflict” at the University of Chicago’s Law School. Source: University of Chicago Law Society, Human Rights Law Society and Southwest Asian and North African Law Students Association

According to a source familiar with the event, which was open to members of the university community, attendees were presented with reasons why Israel should be charged by international bodies with the crime of apartheid. Israel’s Law of Return was equated with affirmative action for Jews and a lack of the same privilege for Palestinians was presented as akin to America’s treatment of white immigrants as opposed to black slaves. The program was presented by the school’s International Law Society, Human Rights Law Society and Southwest Asian and North African Law Students Association.

In response to a query from JNS, a White & Case spokesperson initially claimed that “the advertisement is incorrect. White & Case did not sponsor this event in any way.”

Previous slide
Next slide

When asked whether White & Case had any involvement with the groups hosting the event, the spokesperson changed course, conceding that White & Case indeed sponsored the program but was listed without explicit permission.

“Our firm does provide support to International Law Societies, not just at the University of Chicago Law School, but at many other law schools across the country. We are not involved in or consulted on any of the programming decisions these student organizations make,” the White & Case spokesperson wrote to JNS. “Had we known in advance of this event, we would have insisted that our firm not be associated with it in any way. We have conveyed this position to the ILS.”

Morningstar and its subsidiary Sustainalytics were called before the Illinois Investment Policy Board last year for potential violations of Illinois laws prohibiting boycotts of Israel. Sustainalytics, which produces environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk ratings for socially-conscious investors, has been charged by critics with utilizing and giving disproportionate weight to anti-Israel sources, including HRW, when formulating its ratings. This, they argue, artificially elevates the risk rating for any company doing business in or with Israel, including in Israeli-controlled disputed territory in Judea and Samaria.

Morningstar is now under investigation by attorneys general in at least 19 other states for its practices, including those viewed as promoting a boycott of Israel.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

Following the Illinois Investment Policy Board action, Morningstar highlighted a 117 page report compiled by White & Case.

The report proposed some 40 recommendations to curb any potential anti-Israel bias at Sustainalytics, but found no evidence that Sustainalytics’ products “recommend or encourage divestment” from Israel. The law firm’s investigation also found no “pervasive or systemic bias” in the company’s products, with the exception of Human Rights Radar, produced by an outside vendor. Morningstar subsequently stopped using the vendor in question.

Morningstar pledged to adopt all of White & Case’s recommendations in full. Based in large part on this, the Illinois Investment Policy Board voted not to divest from Morningstar, though the specifics of that vote remain in dispute.

As a whole, White & Case is recognized as having advised investors on a broad range of significant transactions regarding Israeli industries. Accordingly, its sponsorship of an anti-Israel event is likely to raise red flags among state investigators.

JNS has learned that Morningstar specifically pointed to the White & Case report in a recent response to the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office, which told Morningstar it was found to be in violation of the state’s anti-BDS law and needed to prove otherwise or be placed on the Office’s list of prohibited investments. A representative of the State Treasurer’s Office told JNS a final determination on the matter would be made “very soon.”

Mike Wagenheim is a politic​al reporter, currently serving as Senior U.S. Correspondent for the i24NEWS television network. His work has appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Ynet, The Jewish Press and JNS. He survived a long career as an award-winning sportscaster.

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Previous slide
Next slide

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved