Ben and Jerry, our pensions and Israeli settlements.
Why are Rauner appointments still on the pension boards?
Why are Bruce Rauner appointees still sitting on a board making decisions about our teacher pensions investments?
The whole situation is a complicated mess, partly because our pensions rely too heavily on Wall Street investment returns and partly because the Illinois state legislators decided to use our pension funds to prove loyalty to Israel.
These are the same legislators who have never paid their actuarial obligation to the states public pensions.
The Illinois Investment Pension Board was created by the legislature in 2015 to monitor the pension funds to make sure that they are not invested in companies that boycott Israel.
At their next meeting on December 22 they are scheduled to vote for the Illinois pension funds to divest from Unilever because Unilever owns Ben and Jerry’s which has stated it will not work with distributers that sell its ice cream in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank.
The board has seven members, three of which come from the relevant pension boards and four are appointed by the governor.
The four gubernatorial members were appointed by Rauner and never replaced by Pritzker.
Why hasn’t Governor Pritzker replaced Rauner’s people?
Would Pritzker’s people vote differently?
Technically Ben and Jerry’s is not in violation. They are not boycotting Israel. They are refusing to sell their product in the occupied territories.
But that is a distinction that won’t matter much.
The vote by our state legislators to use our public pensions in the service of Israel and its settlement policies was unanimous and that’s the problem.
Their time would be better spent finding ways to fully fund our pensions.