Bill With Ben & Jerry’s And Israel Moves To Senate For Debate
Back in July, Ben & Jerry’s announced they would no longer sell their ice cream in disputed areas in Israel. In response to this, a bill was proposed that would prohibit the state-run pension fund from owning stock in Ben & Jerry’s parent company.
The bill passed through the house and is set to be debated in the Senate on Monday. In a report by Radio Iowa, Representative Carter Nordman, a Republican from Adel, was the bills floor manager in the House.
"The sole purpose of the 'Boycott Israel' movement is to economically destroy and cripple the State of Israel," Nordman said.
Iowa wouldn’t be the first state to do this. According to Nordman, 38 other states have taken steps to ban state pension funds from owning stock in Unilever, which Is the company that owns Ben and Jerry’s.
When Unilever bought the ice cream company two decades ago, they agreed to keep the company’s social missions.
"This bill will ensure that our public investments are not funding companies that are participating in the boycott, divestment, and sanction of Israel movement," Nordman said.
Democrat Representative Mary Wolfe said that Ben & Jerry’s founders are respectfully disagreeing with Israeli policy.
"This bill is...to bully a company, a small American company that's owned by a British company for making a choice to refuse to participate in what they feel and what the UN has declared is an illegal occupation of Palestinian territory," Wolfe said
In September, Arizona and New Jersey pensions put $325 million into Unilever stock.
The bill passed in the house and is scheduled to be debated in the Senate Monday.