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Illinois divests funds from Ben & Jerry’s over decision to end sales in Israeli settlements

Illinois (The Inside Palestine)- The government of Illinois state voted on Wednesday to divest its pension funds from Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, which announced earlier this year that it would end sales in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Arizona, Florida, New Jersey and New York were ahead of Illinois in the decision.

At least three other states, including Maryland, and Rhode Island, have launched reviews required to ultimately divest their pension funds as well.

The Illinois Investment Policy Board vote to add Unilever to the state’s prohibited entity list was unanimous, with seven members voting in favor and none against. The total value of the state’s pension funds was not immediately clear, The Forward reported.

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

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

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.

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 nearly three month ago.

In an official warning letter to Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s in Novamber, 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.”

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.

Source: QNN

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