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NC treasurer divests $40 million from Ben & Jerry's parent company over Israel boycott

Ben & Jerry's

North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell will divest $40 million from Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever over the ice cream company’s efforts to boycott of Israel.

In a news release, Folwell cites The Divestments from Companies Boycotting Israel Act of 2017 in making his decision.

The state law prohibits the North Carolina Retirement Systems and the Department of State Treasurer from "investing in any company engaged in a boycott of Israel," and it bars local governments and state agencies from contracting with companies found to be engaging in an Israeli boycott.

A statement on Ben & Jerry’s website says it plans to end its agreement with an Israeli distributor at the end of next year, and no longer sell its ice cream in the occupied West Bank.

Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company did not immediately return requests for comment.

Folwell also said he's notified local governments and state agencies that they can't do business with Unilever, which is one of the largest consumer products and food companies in the world.

“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,” 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.”

Ben & Jerry's and its parent company join nine other companies blacklisted by the state treasurer's office for boycotting Israel.

Folwell is among several Republicans running for North Carolina governor. He's hoping to beat out fellow GOP contenders former state Sen. Andy Wells, retired health care executive Jesse Thomas, Salisbury lawyer Bill Graham, and the current GOP frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.

The companies barred from investment by North Carolina's law about Israel boycotts include:

  • Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.
  • Betsah Invest SA
  • Betsah SA
  • Cactus SA
  • Co-operative Group Limited
  • Guloguz Dis Deposu Ticaret Ve Pazarlama Ltd
  • KLP Kapitalforvaltning AS
  • Kommunal Landspensjonskasse Gjensidig Forsikringsselskap
  • Pensionskassernes Administration A/S
  • Sampension Kp Livsforsikring A/S

Affiliated companies, subsidiaries and parent companies of those entities are also included.

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal