In response to the news that State of Arizona — in the most significant implementation of anti-BDS legislation to date — has begun to divest all public funds from Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch issued the following statement:
The law that is being invoked in Arizona is unconstitutional and an affront to the basic freedoms that so many Americans hold dear. The right to free expression, including of dissent, is fundamental to American democracy. By divesting its public funds from Unilever, Arizona has effectively curtailed that right, and gagged free speech.
Make no mistake, the New Israel Fund does not support the global BDS movement — and neither do the actions of Ben & Jerry’s. They have said that they will not sell their ice cream in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This is not a boycott of Israel. It is a principled, moral stance against Israel’s settler enterprise that international law deems illegal and that the United States has described as an obstacle to peace.
The law that is currently on the books in the State of Arizona is part of a strategy designed by Israel’s far-right to make sure that there will never be a two-state solution. People who care about a democratic Israel and people care about free speech must not be silent in the face of gag laws like this one.