update deskBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

New York to divest $111 million from Unilever over Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott

The decision was announced by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who manages the $263 million state Common Retirement Fund.

The Unilever company. Credit: Unilever.com.
The Unilever company. Credit: Unilever.com.

New York has announced that it is pulling $111 million in investments from Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, over the ice cream makers decision to boycott Israeli settlements earlier this year.

The decision was announced by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who manages the $263 million state Common Retirement Fund. DiNapoli said that Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements violated his office’s policy against the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel.

“After a thorough review, the New York State Common Retirement Fund will divest its equity holdings in Unilever PLC. Our review of the activities of the company, and its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s, found they engaged in BDS activities under our pension fund’s policy,” DiNapoli said in a statement, the New York Post reported.

New York’s pension fund, the nation’s third-largest, invest more than $800 million in retirement funds in Israel.

The move was welcomed by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

“Comptroller DiNapoli has demonstrated that boycotting Israel has consequences,” said Marc Stern, AJC Chief Legal Officer. “Unilever’s failure to undo Ben & Jerry’s misguided decision to stop selling its ice cream in the West Bank contravenes state government laws across the United States.”

New York has become one the latest states to divest from Unilever over its boycott of Israel. Earlier this week, Florida announced it would pull $139 million in investments from Unilever. Texas, New Jersey and Arizona have also announced similar moves.

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