Unilever, the British conglomerate that owns Ben & Jerry’s, runs its U.S. operations out of a 321,000-square-foot campus in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, where it employs 1,600 people.
As previously reported by LNN, the Division of Investment within New Jersey Treasury Department is investigating Ben and Jerry’s recent announcement to end sales of their ice cream in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, the New Jersey Israel Commission announced.
Gov. Phil Murphy “was disappointed in the decision by Ben and Jerry’s,” press secretary Alyana Alfaro Post said in a separate statement Thursday. “The Governor believes we must continue working toward the shared goal of peace and mutual respect.”
A New Jersey law, adopted five years ago by former Governor Chris Christie, requires the state pension fund to divest and restrict business with companies or individuals that support any boycott aimed at Israel and its West Bank settlements.
This law, if upheld against against Unilever, could have major consequences for Unilever which is one of the state’s big employers.
Former Governor Chris Christie emphasized in a statement “the law is absolutely clear. Unilever has permitted Ben & Jerry’s to engage in conduct that violates NJ law. The Governor must order divestment by the state. That’s both what the law says and what it intended. I should know—I signed it.”