by Beth Harpaz and Jacob Kornbluh, The Forward
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has given Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, a final chance to clarify its position before making a final determination on divesting state funds from the company because of the ice-cream maker’s decision last year to end sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. But a group of pro-Israel organizations is claiming the state is taking too much time before acting decisively on the matter.
New York is one of 35 states with laws or executive orders designed to discourage boycotts of Israel by penalizing companies that refuse to do business there. Last November, Hochul issued a 90-day warning letter asking the companies to explain why they should not be barred from New York State investments, in compliance with an executive order signed in 2016 by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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More than a dozen Jewish groups questioned the state’s response in a letter directed to Gov. Hochul and Jeanette Moy, the commissioner of New York’s Office of General Services on Tuesday. “More than three months have passed since your 90-day deadline. More than 10 months have passed since Ben & Jerry’s instituted an antisemitic boycott against Israel, which Unilever refused to override. Consistent with how forcefully other states have responded to Unilever’s and Ben & Jerry’s boycott, New York must finally take decisive action, and add Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s to its boycott list.”
Signatories were Americans Against Antisemitism, the Zionist Organization of America, Students Supporting Israel, AMIT, Emunah, Coalition for Jewish Values, EZRA USA National Movement, StopAntisemitism, North American Board of Rabbis, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Rabbinical Alliance of America, The Lawfare Project, Israel Heritage Foundation, One Israel Fund, Conference of Jewish Affairs and Americans for a Safe Israel. Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, said in an interview that his group did not authorize the signature on the letter.