The state of New York’s massive pension fund is withdrawing $111 million in investments out of Unilever, the company that owns Ben & Jerry’s because of their recent boycott of the Judea and Samaria region of Israel according to the NY Post.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli — the exclusive manager of the state’s Common Retirement Fund — said that the ice cream maker’s decision to halt the sale of ice cream in Judea and Samaria in July goes against his office’s policy of the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel. The fund is worth $263 billion.
Therefore, DiNapoli is pulling $111 million in equity investments from Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s.
“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 told the New york Post.
Established back in 2016, the state comptroller’s policy states that BDS activities are designed to inflict economic harm against Israel and therefore, the state pension fund’s investments in Israel. The state pension fund — America’s third-biggest — invests over $800 million in retirement funds in Israel.
The policy placed firms involved in BDS activities against Israel on notice that the state would withdraw its pension fund investments.
“We will be divesting those investments. Ben & Jerry’s engaged in BDS activities,” DiNapoli’s spokesman said.
Allies of Israel hailed DiNapoli for sticking up for Israel.
Back in July, Israel365 News reported that Ben and Jerry’s, a Vermont-based multinational ice cream company, announced on its website that it would no longer be selling its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
The company’s intention was to stop sales in Judea, Samaria, and the sections of Jerusalem, all of which were illegally occupied by Jordan before Israel conquered them in the defensive Six-Day War in 1967. According to international law, land conquered in a defensive war is subject to annexation. There has never existed an independent Palestinian entity in those areas. B&J plans on making the boycott permanent when its contract expires in December 2022 with the local Israeli franchise which has operated in the Jewish state for close to 35 years.
It should be noted that Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board of Directors wanted to boycott Israel in its entirety, but was stopped from doing so by the ice-cream maker’s CEO and the British-based parent company Unilever which has distanced itself from the board’s subsequent decision to join the BDS movement.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reacted by tweeting, “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.”