A purple state has joined several other in divesting from the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company over their stance on Israel.
This move puts North Carolina in line with other states like Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Quite a mix of states.
So, what’s going on? Well, North Carolina’s State Treasurer, Dale Folwell, made a bold move to withdraw $40 million from Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever PLC.
Why? Because of Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott Israel. This isn’t just a small change, folks. The North Carolina Retirement Systems manages a whopping $117.9 billion and provides benefits for over a million members, including teachers and police officers.
But why is this happening now?
Ben & Jerry’s, known for its progressive stance on many issues, has maintained an independent board of directors. This board decided to stop selling their ice cream in the West Bank, which sparked controversy and led to this divestment by several states.
Folwell, who’s also eyeing the governor’s seat in 2024, mentioned that he respects Ben & Jerry’s entrepreneurship. But he pointed out that Unilever probably didn’t see this coming when they allowed the ice cream brand to keep its own board post-acquisition.
Here’s a bit of background for you: In 2017, North Carolina passed a law that barred investment in companies boycotting Israel. This move by North Carolina isn’t just a snap decision; it followed a procedure set by this law. Folwell’s office even reached out to Unilever before pulling out the funds, but it seems those talks didn’t sway the decision.
It’s interesting to see how international politics and local investment decisions are intersecting here. Ben & Jerry’s stance on Israel has led to significant financial and political repercussions. In June 2022, Unilever tried to resolve the issue by selling the Ben & Jerry’s operations in Israel. But the controversy continues, as Ben & Jerry’s board maintains its position.
Hey like the left says, Ben & Jerry’s is a private company and they can do what they want. Those companies just need to remember that decisions come with consequences and this may be one of them.