North Carolina Banning Business with Ben & Jerry’s Over Their Stance on Israel

The North Carolina Department of State Treasurer Dale Folwell has just forbid the buying of, working with, or investing in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream or their parent company, Unilever PLC, along with Unilever’s other companies due to their decision to stop selling products in contested parts of Israel and Palestine.

North Carolina statue § 147-86.80 specifically reads, “the North Carolina Retirement Systems or the Department of State Treasurer from investing in any company engaged in a boycott of Israel.”

Ben and Jerry’s announced their decision and their reasoning on their website, saying; “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners. We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”

The company’s co-founders gave more reasoning in a New York Times opinion piece – “The company’s stated decision to more fully align its operations with its values is not a rejection of Israel. It is a rejection of Israeli policy, which perpetuates an illegal occupation that is a barrier to peace and violates the basic human rights of the Palestinian people who live under the occupation. As Jewish supporters of the State of Israel, we fundamentally reject the notion that it is antisemitic to question the policies of the State of Israel.”

North Carolina Treasurer Folwell has already removed a $40 million state investment with Unilever. He’s also told local governments and state agencies that they can’t sign contracts with Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever.

“We have policies in place per state law that dictate how we should proceed on any holdings in the retirement system of companies that boycott Israel and their affiliates. We will follow our policies and the law,” Treasurer Folwell said in a statement. “This is particularly important in this case as we have witnessed the atrocities perpetrated against the Israeli people. There is no place for antisemitism in this state or this country.”

The North Carolina Retirement Systems, managed by the Department of State Treasurer, looks after the retirement and savings of over 1 million members. These members include teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public workers. The department handles pension plan investments, which are currently worth $117.9 billion.

State Treasurer Dale Folwell is currently running to be the Republican candidate for governor in 2024.

What do you think about the decision?



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