Franklin County Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan has purchased $10.5 million in Israel Bonds since Israel began bombing Gaza in the aftermath of October 7, bringing the total 2023 investment to $14.5 million and pushing the county’s total holdings to $33 million.

The increase in investments in Israel Bonds does not follow an increase in profitability for Israel Bonds nor widespread support from voters. S&P Global Ratings downgraded Israel’s credit outlook from stable to negative after October 7 and polls show that a majority of voters say Israel is going too far in their attacks on Gaza. The Columbus Free Press obtained emails that suggest Treasurer Sullivan’s investments in Israel Bonds were not in the spirit of economic profitability, but instead a deeper political support for Israel.

In early December, 2023, Israel expanded their ground offensive and bombing campaign on civilians in southern Gaza. By December 7, only two months after the October 7 attack, Israel had killed more than 17,000 civilians in Gaza. Then, on December 8, Kathe Turiel, Israel Bonds representative for Central & Southern Ohio & Kentucky, asked Treasurer Sullivan if she was still ok to go forward with an article for Columbus Jewish News publicizing her recent $8 million Israel Bond purchase.

“We spoke at your event last week about an article we would like to have published in the Columbus Jewish News about the eight million dollar investment,” Turiel said in an email to Sullivan. “After this past week’s events I want to confirm that you still felt comfortable having an article published.” Sullivan responded four minutes later, “As always in continued solidarity please consider this my confirmation. Thank you for your inclusion and your leadership.”

In the Columbus Jewish News article, Sullivan is described as a “proud supporter of Israel and Israel bond,” and notes that “in the first 30 days of the war between Israel and Hamas, Israel Bonds secured more than $1 billion in bond investments from investors, fortifying Israel’s economy during wartime.” (The article quotes a “news release,” although no release was found in emails between Turiel and Sullivan’s team. No journalist was credited with writing the article.)

In the same article, Jay Schottenstein, chairman of Israel Bonds Central Ohio Advisory Council, praised the purchase. “This comes at a time when Israel deeply appreciates the additional investment,” he said.

Sullivan’s support for Israel has resulted in protests outside her office calling for a divestment from these bonds and opposition from Palestinian and Jewish communities. “[The bonds’ interest rate] doesn’t even match inflation,” shouted community organizer Ethan Young at a protest outside Sullivan’s office in December, 2023. “So they’re giving our tax dollars away just to bomb children as a political statement.”

As the labor community and larger segments of the Democratic Party (including the White House) call for a ceasefire, money and weapons have continued to flow to Israel. These purchases are out of step with the views of most County residents and other Americans.  Sullivan hasn’t released any statements regarding a ceasefire or shown any signs of divesting from Israel.