The leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Friday welcomed the state of Arizona’s decision to divest from all investments in Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, following its boycott of Judea and Samaria.
“We salute the State of Arizona and, particularly, State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, who announced that the state will divest from all investments in the multinational corporation Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s. This action was taken in response to Ben & Jerry’s decision to cease operations with its Israeli licensee because they refused to engage in a boycott of the communities in the West Bank area,” said Dianne Lob, Chair, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents.
“Arizona had already reduced its investment in June from $143 million to $50 million and by the end of the month will have divested completely. Arizona is one of thirty-three states that took action penalizing companies that engage in a boycott of Israel. We encourage other states to follow the example of Arizona and take similar actions,” they added.
“We remain deeply disappointed that Unilever, a company with a long-standing presence in Israel, will not overturn the discriminatory action by its Ben & Jerry’s subsidiary. The majority of American states recognize that boycotting Israel is not only discriminatory activity, it’s also bad for business and negatively impacts Israelis, as well as Palestinians," the statement concluded.
Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, caused an uproar with its controversial July 19 announcement that it will stop selling the ice cream in Judea and Samaria.
Meanwhile, 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 addition, a number of supermarket chains have announced that they will no longer stock Ben & Jerry's products following the controversial decision. They include Glatt Express Supermarket, Seasons, Morton Williams Supermarkets, Gristede’s Supermarkets, and others.
The company’s founders, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, said in a New York Times opinion piece that they no longer control the company but approve of the move to stop selling the ice cream in Judea and Samaria.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)