(JNS) Arizona moved to divest from Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, over the ice-cream maker’s decision to stop selling its products in the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem, becoming the first state to take such action. Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee announced on Tuesday, Sept. 9 that the state will pull some $143 million of investments from the multinational firm by Sept. 21.
Yee announced on Twitter that “Israel is and will continue to be a major trade partner of AZ. I will not allow taxpayer dollars to go towards antisemitic, discriminatory efforts against Israel.”
Under Arizona law, the state cannot conduct business with any person or company that boycotts Israel, including limiting commercial operations in Israel or territory controlled by Israel. Some 34 states have passed or enacted anti-BDS laws in recent years, and 21 of those states also include Israeli settlement boycotts in their definitions.
Several other states have also announced reviews that could lead to divesting from Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s, including New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Maryland and Rhode Island.
Israel’s Consul General to the Southwest Hillel Newman said, “We are delighted that the state of Arizona, under the leadership of a true friend of Israel, Governor Ducey, the attorney general and the team see boycotts against Israel for what they are—a form of antisemitism,” said Newman.
Main Photo: Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference in Phoenix, July 24, 2021. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)