New Jersey to divest from Ben & Jerry’s over decision to end sales in Israeli settlements

Washington (QNN)- The State of New Jersey announced on Tuesday that it could divest funds from the global ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, following the company’s decision to end sales in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, becoming the second US state to do so.

Following in Arizona’s footsteps, the director of the New Jersey Division of Investment penned a letter to Unilever CEO Alan Jope earlier on September, notifying him that the state’s review of Ben & Jerry’s July boycott decision reached a preliminary conclusion that the company had breached local laws requiring divestment from firms that boycott ‘Israel’.

The New Jersey review determined that the Ben & Jerry’s position was akin to boycotting ‘Israel’ according to state law.

In only reaching a preliminary conclusion, New Jersey authorities gave Unilever 90 days to convince Ben & Jerry’s to walk back the announcement before the state would move forward with the divestment of pension fund assets.

Those pension funds amount to $90 billion in New Jersey, though it was not immediately clear what percentage is currently invested in Unilever, which is headquartered in the state.

Earlier this month, Arizona becomes the first state to completely divest $143 million from Ben & Jerry’s.

“Israel is and will continue to be a major trading partner of Arizona,” State Treasurer Kimberly Yee said.

“As Arizona’s Chief Banking and Investment Officer, I stand with Israel and I will not allow taxpayer dollars to go towards antisemitic, discriminatory efforts against Israel,” she claimed.

There are 34 US states in total that require their governments to stop doing business with companies that boycott the occupation state.

So far eight states are known to have triggered similar reviews that could result in divesting from Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever. In addition to Arizona and New Jersey, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Maryland and Rhode Island have launched formal proceedings.

(Source / 17.09.2021)

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