New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Says Treasury Announcement on Ben & Jerry’s Shows Success of Law Prohibiting State Investment in Companies that Boycott Israel

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) said an announcement by the New Jersey Department of Treasury today demonstrates the success of a 2016 law which prohibits the investment of state public employee retirement funds in companies that boycott Israel.

Sen. Tom Kean said an announcement by the Treasury Department demonstrates the success of a 2016 law which prohibits the investment of New Jersey public employee retirement funds in companies that boycott Israel. (Pixabay)

“Our anti-BDS law was one of the first in the nation to use the power of state investment decisions to remove support for businesses that boycott Israel,” said Kean. “The announcement by Treasury that state investment will be prohibited in the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s following a review we requested pursuant to the law we enacted is yet another example that the process works as intended.”

BDS refers to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions efforts of some companies to boycott Israeli goods, products, and businesses.

Kean and Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) sponsored the law prohibiting State investment in companies that engage in BDS activities.

In July, Kean and Weinberg sent a letter to Shoaib Khan, Director of the  Division of Investment in Treasury, requesting a review of Ben & Jerry’s following the company’s announcement that it would stop licensing its products for sale in specific areas of Israel, including East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Today, the Division of Investments revealed the results of its review, including a determination that the actions of Ben & Jerry’s constituted a boycott thereby prohibiting State pension fund assets from being invested in parent company Unilever.

This is not the first time the Kean/Weinberg law has been employed successfully.

The senators sent a joint request for review to the Division of Investment in 2019 in response to concerns about Airbnb after the rental service refused listings in Israeli settlements. The review resulted in the prohibition of State investments. Following New Jersey’s decision and similar actions by other states, Airbnb reversed its policy.

“Our law sends the clear message that New Jersey will not tolerate anti-Semitism and we won’t financially support businesses that target Israel,” added Kean. “There are plenty of businesses that don’t engage in BDS activities where New Jersey’s $90 billion pension fund can be invested to the benefit of our public workers.”

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