Who is Richard Goldberg and why is he messing with my teacher pension?
Fred Klonsky in Retirement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Doesn’t my teacher pension have troubles enough?
It’s been underfunded by the state of Illinois for decades. Illinois state pension debt is around $150 billion.
Since our annual cost of living increase is no such thing, inflation running at 7% has reduced our pension’s value and our actual buying power.
Now we have Richard Goldberg involved with an agenda that has nothing to do with retired teachers.
Here’s the story.
In 2015 every member of the Illinois General Assembly voted to create an anti-BDS law (SB1761). It is an amendment to the Illinois Pension Code that prohibits investments by Illinois retirement systems with companies that “boycott Israel.”
That’s in quotes because the latest target is Ben and Jerry’s ice cream that doesn’t boycott Israel. They just won’t sell their product in the occupied territories.
Which is good. But it’s not boycotting Israel.
The General Assembly created an unelected body appointed by the governor to decide who is boycotting Israel and who isn’t.
Remember, the same members of the Illinois General Assembly have underfunded my teacher pension every year for decades.
And Richard Goldberg?
He is a pro-Israel war hawk who is involved in all this. In fact, Governor Pritzker’s committee is loaded with right-wing pro-Israel war hawks.
This from Mondoweiss which promotes a peaceful solution in the Middle East:
At the time SB1761 passed, and for most of the time since, no one publicly took credit for writing it. Lately, however, Richard Goldberg’s name has come up in the media as its author. The same reliable source confirmed Goldberg’s role in writing it, but also noted that “every governor appointee to the Investment Policy Board was involved with tracking legislation that was helpful in drafting the legislation.”
Goldberg created the anti-BDS law (SB1761) in 2015 while deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs for former Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. He had recently completed 10 years on Capitol Hill, in various capacities for former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), also a former Illinois Congressman. As Kirk’s senior foreign policy advisor, he was a leading architect for the toughest sanctions imposed on Iran, and in an earlier position, played a key role in expanding and securing military funding for Israel.
Mondoweiss goes on to describe Richard Goldberg’s misbehavior.
A Chicago-based pro-Israel neocon, he is currently a Senior Adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a hawkish foreign policy “think tank” that according to the Jewish News Syndicate helped guide the Trump administration’s Iran strategy.
At FDD Goldberg is said to have worked behind the scenes in 2018 to kill support within the Trump administration for the Iran Nuclear Deal. He is described as the Iran hawk John Bolton brought onto the National Security Council (2019-20), where he coordinated Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign” against Tehran. According to the Jewish News Syndicate, the campaign included sanctions, military force and the assassination of Qasem Soleimani. A few days after the assassination, Goldberg left the Trump administration and returned to the FDD.
Goldberg’s latest target through FDD is the United Nations for “demonizing” Israel. He has branded UNRWA as antisemitic and linked to terrorism and guilty of perpetuating a “myth of Palestinian refugees.” When Trump defunded UNRWA in 2018, Goldberg told AP News that it was a “‘win for U.S. taxpayers and peace’…that would make Palestinians more self-sufficient…”
He is also the person who “spearheaded the first ever” anti-BDS law, which “sparked a nationwide initiative in state capitols around America,” as he asserts in his FDD bio.
Goldberg has remained closely associated with the Illinois Investment Policy Board since its beginnings in 2016, according to a reliable source. “He attends IIPB meetings and is involved in its operations,” the source said. “If you want to know anything about the statute and how it is interpreted, talk to Richard Goldberg.”
Get Richard Goldberg’s creepy hands away from my teacher pension.
Get rid of the Illinois Investment Policy pension board Governor Pritzker.
Richard Goldberg is yet another dark money player in the corruption we call government.
Why does he stay behind the scenes in so many ways and organizations? That is what he is paid to do. There are way too many Richard Goldberg types in too many governmental affairs. Corruption is his game; profit and power are his games.
So you’re blaming a pro-Israel stance for your pension woes?