New York gives Ben & Jerry’s 90-day notice over decision to end sales in Israeli settlements

New York (QNN)- The government of New York State has warned the multinational goods company Unilever and its subsidiary company Ben & Jerry’s that it may soon divest from them over what the state claims is engaging in the boycott of ‘Israel’.

In an official warning letter to Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s, New York State’s Office of General Services wrote that both companies “appears to have engaged in boycott, divestment or sanctions activity targeting Israel that may require Unilever PLC on the list of companies or institutions that affected State entities are required to divest from.”

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has total Unilever equity of $111 million. The fund is the third-largest US public pension fund.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

After a 90-day notice period, all the state’s government agencies and departments will have to halt or withdraw their investments in the two companies, in accordance with an executive order that bans government business with any company boycotting Israel either directly or through a subsidiary.

The executive order was signed in 2016 by former Governor Andrew Cuomo and renewed by Governor Kathy Hochul upon taking office in August.

New York state has divested from eleven companies since the order entered into force.

Thirty-five states in the United States have adopted laws or executive orders designed to discourage the boycott of Israel.

The Well-known American firm, Ben & Jerry’s, 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 has 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.

Eight of the US states have halted, withdrawn or will withdraw investments in Unilever following Ben & Jerry’s decision to halt the sale of its products in the occupied West Bank this summer.

In September, Arizona became the first state to pull the trigger on divesting from Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s, in response to its decision, as it and New Jersey have already divested all of their funds from Unilever.

Texas has officially added Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever to a list of companies that boycott Israel, a further step on the path to the state divesting some $100 million from the companies.

Florida said it has begun divesting from conglomerate Unilever, and the move took effect last month.

Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island have launched formal proceedings.

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