Although we are mindful of the free speech arguments being sounded against the calls for state governments to divest from companies that boycott Israel, we fully support the state of Arizona’s divestment from Unilever over the decision of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, to boycott Judea and Samaria.
Last week, Arizona’s state treasurer Kimberly Yee announced that Arizona will be completing its divestment from Unilever by September 21, 2021. On June 30, Arizona reduced its investment in Unilever from $143 million to $50 million.
Arizona law prohibits economic boycotts, and parent companies can be held responsible for the actions of their subsidiaries, even though – as is the case with Unilever – they may sell across Israel. Arizona law also prohibits its government from investing in companies that engage in economic boycotts of Israel. So, the action by Yee is fully consistent with Arizona law.
At all events, in the current anti-Semitic climate it is crucial that every effort be made to avoid the singling out of things Jewish for opprobrium. So, let’s leave it to the courts to deal with any issues of unconstitutionality.