By Elad Benari (A7)
Illinois regulators plan to warn the owner of Ben & Jerry’s to reverse the company’s decision to stop selling ice cream in Judea and Samaria or face divestment by the state, an official said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
The Israeli Boycott Restrictions Committee of the Illinois Investment Policy Board will meet to approve setting a 90-day deadline for Unilever to reverse the decision by Ben & Jerry´s, committee chairman Andy Lappin said.
On the July 19 announcement by the Vermont-based confection-maker that continuing to market its product in Judea and Samaria is “inconsistent with our values”, Lappin said that “the egregious nature of the statement is almost unprecedented.”
The Illinois Investment Policy Board monitors compliance with state law prohibiting the investment in certain companies that do business with Iran and Sudan as well as companies that boycott Israel.
“We’ll meet in the next week or so just for this issue, asking the board to send a letter to Unilever giving it 90 days to confirm or deny” Ben & Jerry’s stance, Lappin said, according to AP. “In this case, it was a blatantly open statement made by the chairman of Ben & Jerry’s and we need to determine if Unilever deems it appropriate to walk the statement back.”
If found non-compliant, Illinois law would require divestment in Unilever or any of its subsidiaries, Lappin said. State-run pension systems are currently investigating their portfolios for Unilever-related interests.
Illinois joins several states that have announced they would take action against Ben & Jerry’s following its decision to boycott Judea and Samaria.
The Texas State Comptroller announced this past Thursday that the government is examining whether the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company violated the state’s anti-BDS laws.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has called on the State Board of Administration (SBA) to immediately place Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever on the Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List and initiate the process to place both companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List.
In addition, a number of supermarket chains have announced that they will no longer stock Ben & Jerry’s products following the controversial decision. They include Glatt Express Supermarket, Seasons, Morton Williams Supermarkets, Gristede’s Supermarkets, and others.