New Jersey will pull its $182 million in Unilever stocks and bonds after a three-month preliminary investigation found that the company’s subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, engaged in a boycott of “Israeli-controlled” territories against state law.
State officials said that Unilever, whose US headquarters is located in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, did not appeal the findings of the preliminary investigation, the NorthJersey news site reported.
“The Division of Investment did not receive a response from Unilever within the 90-day window, and therefore the provisional determination of ineligibility for Unilever became final on Dec. 1,” New Jersey Department of Treasury spokesperson Danielle Currie said in a statement. “The Division has placed the company on its prohibited investment list. It is now looking at next steps to appropriately divest existing Unilever plc holdings in accordance with the statute.”
A state law in effect since 2016 prohibits state pension or annuity funds from investing in “any company that boycotts the goods, products, or businesses of Israel, boycotts those doing business with Israel, or boycotts companies operating in Israel or Israeli-controlled territory.”
More than 30 states have similar anti-boycott laws — including New York, Arizona, Illinois and Florida — and several have also taken action to sell shares in Unilever, following Ben & Jerry’s announcement in July that it would stop selling its products in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem because it was “inconsistent with our values.”