The state of Illinois will divest from the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s over the ice cream company’s decision to stop selling its product in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, the Illinois Investment Policy Board voted to divest pension funds from the British conglomerate Unilever, which bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000. Illinois is the fifth state to punish Ben & Jerry’s on Israel’s behalf, following New York, New Jersey, Arizona, and Florida.
Illinois is one of over 30 US states that have laws against the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS activists call for global boycotts to pressure Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians.
When Ben & Jerry’s first announced the settlement ban that takes effect at the end of 2022, Israel began urging US governors of states with anti-BDS laws on the books to enforce them against the ice cream company. Reports at the time said Israel launched a “maximum pressure campaign” to get Ben & Jerry’s to reverse its decision.
The states that have taken action against Ben & Jerry’s claim the company is “boycotting Israel,” but the ban only applies to settlements. Ben & Jerry’s will continue selling its product in Israel, and its founders have said the move is not a boycott of Israel.
Disclosure: Antiwar.com has received donations in the past from Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen