New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is being criticized by supporters of Israel for not pulling the city’s pension-fund investments from Ben & Jerry’s parent company over the ice-cream maker’s boycott of Israeli territories.
In October, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said he was divesting New York’s $111 million in pension-fund investments from Unilever after its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, announced that it will no longer sell its products in Judea, Samria and parts of Jerusalem. DiNapoli said Ben & Jerry’s decision violated his office’s policy against the BDS movement against Israel.
“State Comptroller DiNapoli did all the homework for Stringer to divest from Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever,” former Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, told the New York Post. “DiNapoli did the right thing. What is the city comptroller missing?”
“This is a person who doesn’t have the guts to do the right thing. What point doesn’t Stringer get? Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East,” he continued.
New York City’s stock and other retiree-fund investments in Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s are worth $187 million, according to the Post.
Bronx councilman Eric Dinowitz said Stringer, who leaves office in nine weeks, has yet to respond to his July letter urging the comptroller to pull investments in the two companies. Still, he said, “we hope Comptroller Stringer makes a decision that aligns with our laws and values.”
At a time when we have seen a substantial uptick in anti-Semitic acts in a city which is home to the largest population of Jews outside of Israel, the actions of Ben & Jerry’s adds fuel to the fire. Today I asked the Office of the @NYCComptroller to review their actions. pic.twitter.com/6IK0So82oA
— Council Member Eric Dinowitz (@EricDinowitzNYC) July 26, 2021
Stringer’s spokesperson told the New York Post that the comptroller is against the BDS movement, has contacted Unilever “to request a meeting and further information” and “continues to monitor the situation.” Stringer’s office also noted that he must get approval from the city’s five retirement pension systems before he can take action.