Jonathan Greenblatt
Jonathan Greenblatt Courtesy of the ADL

The Anti-Defamation League (AD) announced on Thursday that it has expanded its ability to influence the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement by incorporating JLens, a leading Jewish values-based investment group.

The ESG movement, otherwise known as “impact investing,” is used by activists to push for anti-Israel, BDS and antisemitic policies, the ADL noted in its explanation of the importance of its bringing JLens under its umbrella.

“ESG is the latest frontier in the fight against antisemitism, with radical Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists trying to push their agenda,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said. “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.”

Launched in San Francisco in 2012, JLens has a “strong track record in promoting socially responsible investing with a Jewish values lens,” the ADL said.

It pointed to the fact that the non-profit has “mobilized the Jewish community to advance impact investing and corporate social responsibility.”

JLens has over 30 North American Jewish institutions that have invested around $200 million in its Jewish Advocacy Strategy – “an investment option that advocates with companies for Jewish communal concerns.”

JLens is set to become an official arm of the ADL, where its staff will continue their work as part of the ADL, which will also infest funds into JLen’s investment strategy.

“I’m so proud of the successes JLens has had bringing Jewish values into the investment arena over the past decade,” JLens CEO Julie Hammerman said. “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.”

According to the ADL, “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 ties with over 300 publicly traded corporations and works with other impact investors on shared values. It also helps companies expand economic ties with Israel and educates investors about the dangers of BDS before they bow to pressure and divest their Israeli holdings.

“The recent high-profile examples of companies publicly announcing anti-Israel moves are just the tip of the iceberg,” Greenblatt said. “In working with JLens, we hope to be able to prevent such actions before they even take off.”