(Jewish Link Staff) The New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Division of Investment (DOI) issued the following statement on Tuesday, September 14, regarding state pension fund holdings in Unilever plc, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s:
“Following the letter and spirit of the law, the State of New Jersey’s Division of Investment, working with its independent consultant, ISS, conducted a review of the actions of Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, to determine whether such actions constituted a boycott of Israel or companies operating in Israel or Israeli-controlled territory. Following this review, the division reached a preliminary determination that Unilever’s actions did in fact constitute such a boycott and sent a letter to Unilever notifying the company of its provisional determination. Upon final determination, no pension fund assets may be invested in the company, and DOI shall take appropriate action to sell or divest any existing pension fund investments,” said Shoaib Khan, director of the NJ Division of Investment.
Following this announcement, the Jewish Federations of New Jersey put out a statement that read: “Earlier this evening, the New Jersey Department of Treasury announced that the Division of Investment has reached a preliminary determination that Unilever’s actions via Ben and Jerry’s constitute a boycott of Israel and violates New Jersey law. We commend the State of New Jersey for their decision, delivering a rebuke to those who would discriminate against the State of Israel – an ally of the United States and a vibrant economic partner of the State.” This statement was signed by the heads of all the Jewish Federations in the state.
The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey issued its own statement, which read: “Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey thanks and applauds the Division of Investments in the New Jersey State Department of Treasury for its investigation and preliminary findings in Ben and Jerry’s misguided and ill-informed decision to boycott Israel. As a result of Ben and Jerry’s action, no assets of any pension or annuity under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department shall be invested in Unilever, the parent company of Ben and Jerry’s. Federation thanks Governor Phil Murphy for his steadfast support of our state laws and of America’s true ally in the middle east, Israel.”