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New Jersey to divest from Ben & Jerry’s

CM 15/09/2021

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The New Jersey Department of Treasury Division of Investment determined on September 2 that the Ben & Jerry’s ban on ice cream sales in West Bank settlements violates New Jersey law and directed the state to divest from the company.
In July, Ben & Jerry’s a subsidiary of Unilever, announced it would not renew a license agreement with their Israeli distributor, effectively ending sales in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” because it was “inconsistent with [their] values.”

A Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Israel. (credit: FLICKR COMMONS/JTA)A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Israel. (credit: FLICKR COMMONS/JTA)

The president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, Eric Fingerhut, praised the decision: “We are proud of New Jersey’s Jewish Federations’ tireless efforts to combat boycotts and delegitimization of Israel. Today’s preliminary decision by the New Jersey Division of Investment – like those of other state governments around the country with which Jewish Federations work – sends a strong message that boycotts and discrimination against America’s staunch ally Israel are unacceptable and only serve to undermine the cause of peace.”
Other states, including Florida, Texas, New York, and Illinois have also been considering divesting from Unilever due to the ice cream ban about two months ago. Last week, Arizona became the first state to decide to fully divest from the company. 
In August, the head of Ben & Jerry’s’ board of directors, Anuradha Mittal, was accused in a watchdog complaint of self-dealing after she sent tens of thousands of dollars in grant money from the company’s nonprofit to pro-Palestinian organizations, including the Oakland Institute, a progressive think tank that advocates for land rights, at which Mittal is the executive director and the only paid employee.


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