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Gov. Kathy Hochul has put Ben & Jerry’s and parent firm Unilever on notice that she’s looking to bar investments from state entities for violating an executive order against boycott, divestment or sanctions activities against Israel.

The state Office of General Services sent a notice to the firms Friday in response to B&J’s refusal to sell its ice cream products in Israel-controlled disputed territories such as the West Bank.

“OGS has determined that Unilever PLC, through its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc, appears to have engaged in boycott, divestment or sanction actions targeting Israel that may require Unilever PC to be included on a list of companies or institutions that affected state entities are required to divest from,” OGG deputy counsel Bradley Allen said in separate Nov. 12 letters to Unilever CEO Alan Jope and Ben & Jerry’s Homemade.

Allen gave Unilever/B&J’s 90 days to respond to why they shouldn’t be barred from state investments.

Hochul has extended an executive order issued by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, that prohibits the state government from investing with firms engaging in BDS activities against the Jewish State.

Jewish organizations protest against Ben & Jerry’s near the New York Public Library on August 12, 2021.
Jewish organizations protest against Ben & Jerry’s near the New York Public Library on August 12, 2021.
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A Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream factory in the Be'er Tuvia Industrial area of Israel.
A Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream factory in the Be’er Tuvia Industrial area of Israel.
AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File
A Ben and Jerry’s store in Miami, Florida on September 23, 2021.
A Ben and Jerry’s store in Miami, Florida on September 23, 2021.
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State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently announced that he’s withdrawing $111 million in pension funds from Unilever over the B&J boycott in the West Bank — giving the governor ammo to follow suit.

Meanwhile city Comptroller Scott Stringer on Thursday met with Unilever CEO Jope but stopped short of taking any action, saying he’s monitoring the situation. The city pension funds have $187 million invested in Unilever stocks.

Stringer has faced withering criticism from pro-Israel activists for failing to take action against Unilever over the West Bank boycott, as DiNpoli did.

Gov. Kathy Hochul marches with New York State police during the Veterans Day Parade on Fifth Ave, Manhattan on November 11, 2021.
Gov. Kathy Hochul marches with New York State police during the Veterans Day Parade on Fifth Ave, Manhattan on November 11, 2021.
Milo Hess/ZUMA Press Wire
Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Ben and Jerry’s Jewish co-founders, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, have defended the company’s sales boycott in Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories.
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Ben & Jerry's ice cream
Ben and Jerry’s claimed Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories did not follow their values.
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Pro-Israel activists applauded Hochul for standing with the Jewish State.

“We look forward to good news and New York doing the right thing,” said former Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism.

Unilever argues that B&J’s limited boycott in the West Bank is not a boycott of Israel.

“Unilever has a strong and longstanding commitment to our business in Israel. We employ nearly 2,000 people in the country across our four factories and head office, and we have invested approximately $250 million in the Israeli market over the last decade,” Jope said in a recent letter to DiNapoli’s office.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Unilever insists Ben & Jerry’s sales boycott in the West Bank is not a boycott against Israel.
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Protesters stand outside a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store in Manhattan on August 12, 2021.
Protesters stand outside a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store in Manhattan on August 12, 2021.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

On July 19, Ben and Jerry’s announced it would stop selling ice cream to the Israeli -controlled Palestinian territories, saying “it is inconsistent with our values” to conduct business there.

Ben and Jerry’s Jewish co-founders, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield — who sold their namesake company to Unilever in 2000 — defended the company’s decision to end sales in the region in a New York Times editorial in July, writing that Israel was one of the first countries that the company had expanded to internationally as it grew.

The founders, who called themselves “proud Jews,” said it is “possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies” just as they’ve “opposed policies in the US government.”



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