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Arizona to divest from Ben & Jerry’s over decision to end sales in Israeli settlements

Arizona (QNN)- The State of Arizona plans to completely divest $143 million from the global ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s as of September 2021 following the company’s decision to end sales in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

“Israel is and will continue to be a major trading partner of Arizona,” State Treasurer Kimberly Yee said on Tuesday.

“As Arizona’s Chief Banking and Investment Officer, I stand with Israel and I will not allow taxpayer dollars to go towards antisemitic, discriminatory efforts against Israel,” she claimed.

Arizona is the first state to completely divest from Ben & Jerry’s after the ice cream giant, which is a subsidiary of the British based Unilever conglomerate, announced that it planned to end its contract with its Israeli franchise as of December 2022.

The office of the Arizona Treasury said on Tuesday that state laws prohibited continued investments in Ben & Jerry’s in light of its boycott decision.

“Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statutes 35-393 et seq) states that a public state entity may not invest money with an entity that boycotts Israel,” the Treasury said, adding that it was in contact with Unilever on the matter in early August.

“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,” Yee said.

‘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,” she explained.

“Arizona will not do business with companies that are attempting to undermine Israel’s economy and blatantly disregarding Arizona law,” Yee said.

Prior to the company’s decision, Arizona had invested $143 million in Unilever.

It has since reduced that amount to $50 m. and will end its financial ties with the company on September 21.

The Well-known American firm announced in July that it will no longer sell its products for settlements in the West Bank and the eastern part of Jerusalem.

The firm, known for its progressive activities, has been silent on social media since last May, when ‘Israel’ were bombarding the besieged Gaza strip, killing over 250 Palestinians, most of them were children and women.

The company said in a statement on its website “it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”

Israel’s Ambassador to the US and UN Gilad Erdan said he sent letters to the governors of the 35 American states that have anti-BDS laws, asking them to act against Ben & Jerry’s decision.

“I urged them to act against Ben & Jerry’s decision to not sell its products in the eastern part of Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria. We will make clear to Ben & Jerry’s that its antisemitic decision will have consequences,” Erdan said.

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