Colorado Moves to Divest Pension Funds from Ben & Jerry’s Parent Company Over Israeli Settlement Ban

The move makes Colorado the seventh US state to punish the ice cream company on behalf of Israel

The board of Colorado’s state pension fund voted unanimously on Friday to begin a procedure to divest its holdings in Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever over the ice cream company’s decision to stop selling its product in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Colorado is one of over 30 US states that have laws on the books against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for global boycotts to pressure Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency described the Colorado law as “pledging economic loyalty to Israel.”

Under Colorado’s law, the state pension fund must identify companies that are boycotting Israel and give them 180 days to change their policy before the pension funds are divested. Friday’s vote started the 180-day period, and if nothing changes, Colorado will divest the $42 million that it currently has invested in Unilever.

Ben & Jerry’s has said it is not boycotting Israel since it plans to continue operations in the country, and the ban only applies to settlements. But that is not good enough for Colorado or the six other US states that have also taken action against Unilever on behalf of Israel, which include New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, Florida, and Texas.

When Ben & Jerry’s first announced the settlement ban last year, Israeli officials launched a “maximum pressure campaign” to push Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever to reverse the move. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador in the US, sent a letter to the governors of states with anti-BDS laws urging them to take action. But so far, Ben & Jerry’s has shown no sign that it will back down on the policy.

Disclosure: has received donations in the past from Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.