Ben and Jerry
Ben and Jerry warned by New Jersey to divest its fund from it
As a result of the ice cream company's decision to stop selling ice cream in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the US state of New Jersey warned Tuesday that it will consider divesting funding Ben & Jerry's and its parent company, Unilever.
“No pension fund assets may be invested in the corporation, and the DOI shall take immediate action to liquidate or divest any existing pension fund investments,” stated Shoaib Khan, Director of the New Jersey Division of Investment.
According to Khan, the division is working with an independent consultant to investigate Ben & Jerry's and Unilever's actions "to establish if such measures constituted a boycott of Israel or companies operating in Israel or Israeli-controlled territory."
“Following this analysis, the division made a preliminary finding that Unilever's conduct did, in fact, constitute such a boycott and sent a letter to Unilever informing the business of its provisional determination,” Khan continued.
The state's Treasury Department informed Unilever in a letter that it had 90 days to prove it had not participated in a boycott involving Israel or Israeli-occupied territories before any divestment action is taken.
In July, the worldwide ice cream company stated that it would no longer sell its goods in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories settlements.
New Jersey is one of seven states that have either divested or are considering divesting from Unilever. According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, other cities include New York, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
Following the criticism, the creators of Ben & Jerry's claimed that they are "proud Jews," that Israel was one of their first overseas markets, and that they "support the State of Israel."
However, they stated in a New York Times opinion piece, “It is conceivable to support Israel while opposing certain of its actions, just as we have opposed policies of the US government.”