Arizona has become the eighth state to begin reviewing whether Ben & Jerry’s plans to withdraw from doing business in Judea and Samaria merits sanctions under its law targeting the BDS movement, JTA reported on Monday.
In emails obtained by JTA, the state’s treasurer last week asked Unilever, the ice cream manufacturer’s parent company, to comply with its 2016 law which requires state entities, including pension funds, to divest from companies boycotting Israel or businesses in territories under Israel’s control.
The treasurer’s office gave Unilever 90 days to do so, according to the report.
Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s have said they are not observing the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, or BDS, because they are only seeking to pull out of the West Bank, and plan to continue sales in Israel.
Unilever caused an uproar with its controversial July 19 announcement that it will stop selling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Judea and Samaria.
There are 34 states in total that require their governments to stop doing business with companies that boycott Israel. 21 of those, like Arizona, include boycotts of Judea and Samaria in their definitions.
Last week, the mayor of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, the location of the North American headquarters of Unilever, called on the company to reverse its decision to boycott Judea and Samaria.
In a letter addressed to Unilever CEO Alan Jope, Mayor Mario M. Kranjac urged Unilever to “reconsider” Ben & Jerry’s decision, expressing his “deep concern” with the move. He called it not only “disturbing, but… also a violation of New Jersey’s anti-BDS laws.”