States to play hardball with Ben & Jerry’s

Date: 20.09.2021Source: Wall Street Journal

The US state of New Jersey is reacting to the plan of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand to withdraw from Israeli settlement areas. NJ wants to sell shares and bonds of the Unilever subsidiary in the triple-digit millions.


In July, Unilever subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s announced it would withdraw its ice cream brand from Israeli settlements. Now the US state of New Jersey has invoked a law that prohibits public investment in companies that participate in boycotts.


For the Unilever subsidiary, this means that $182m could be withdrawn from the company. That is the amount the state has invested in the company in the form of pension funds. Ben & Jerry’s now has 90 days to respond to the announcement.


This is the latest lawsuit filed by a US state against Unilever over Ben & Jerry’s controversial decision to pull out of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to Reuters. Arizona declared earlier this month that the state wants to sell $143m worth of Unilever holdings. New York and Illinois have also warned Unilever that they are considering an exit.

Roland Sossna / IDM

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