The state of Arizona is divesting all public funds from Ben & Jerry’s due to its boycott against Israel, State Treasurer Kimberly Yee announced on Tuesday.
Arizona reduced its investments in Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, from $143 million to $50 million as of June 30, and will reduce all investments by September 21.
“As Arizona Treasurer, I’ve divested all state funds from Ben & Jerry’s for boycotting Israel,” Yee wrote on Twitter. “Israel is and will continue to be a major trade partner of Arizona. As Arizona’s Chief Banking and Investment Officer, I stand with Israel and I will not allow taxpayer dollars to go towards anti-Semitic, discriminatory efforts against Israel.”
“Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statues 35-393 et seq) states that a public state entity may not invest monies with an entity that boycotts Israel,” Yee asserted. “I gave Unilever PLC, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, an ultimatum: Reverse the actions of Ben & Jerry’s to come into compliance with Arizona law or face the consequences. They chose the latter.”
‘It does not matter how much investment Unilever PLC has in Israel: with Ben & Jerry’s decision to no longer sell its product in the West Bank, the companies are in violation of the law in Arizona. Arizona will not do business with companies that are attempting to undermine Israel’s economy and blatantly disregarding Arizona law.”
The states of New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Maryland and Rhode Island are also considering divesting their public funds from Ben & Jerry’s.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)