The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 America Rabbis – applauds the state of Arizona for divesting state funds from Ben & Jerry’s due to their corporate decision to engage in BDS activities against Israel.
Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee declared that Arizona will not allow taxpayer cash to go to “anti-Semitic, discriminatory efforts against Israel.” In a bold but strong statement, Arizona announced that it will divest all state funds from Ben and Jerry’s because the ice cream company’s recently announced boycott of Israeli settlements violates state laws. Arizona is the first US state to take action on this issue but seven other states have launched reviews that could lead to similar outcomes.
Arizona made it clear that the measure will also apply to parent company Unilever, Yee said Tuesday. This means that Arizona will pull what in June was $143 million invested in Unilever. “As Arizona Treasurer, I’ve divested all state funds from Ben & Jerry’s for boycotting Israel,” Yee tweeted. “Israel is and will continue to be a major trade partner of AZ.” “I Stand with Israel and I will not allow taxpayer dollars to go towards anti-Semitic, discriminatory efforts against Israel,” she wrote.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, praised Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee’s announcement that Arizona will divest all state funds from Ben & Jerry’s due to their corporate decision to boycott Israel. “This is a bold move for peace and for honesty. Arizona is truly taking a stand against hatred and anti-Semitism. Pragmatically, this approach will also encourage peace in the Middle East, which is currently blossoming among Israel and many Arab countries through mutual economic cooperation.
“The great travesty is that BDS calls into question the legitimacy of Israel’s right to exist. Israel is the only Jewish state in the world, compared to dozens of Muslim and Christian countries, many of which commit terrible crimes against humanity but receive little condemnation. The last Jew recently fled Afghanistan after thousands of years of a Jewish presence. This is another in a string of countries where all or nearly all Jews have had to flee the country. In contrast, Israel’s Arab citizens are treated with full equality under Israeli law. Supporters of BDS demonize Israel despite the country’s many praiseworthy liberties for all citizens. And yet these same people overlook outrageous human rights violations across the Middle East.”
The Rabbinical Alliance of America holds Israel up as a beacon of hope for the world. The organization vigorously and unequivocally objects to the opposition to a Jewish state in Israel and praises and thanks the State of Arizona for taking a stand in favor of peace and truth. Israel is the home to millions of Jews and gentiles who participate in a vibrant democracy with a thriving economy and a multitude of liberties and rights for all its residents. The denial of Jews the right to a country is hateful and discriminatory. BDS goes further and denies Jews the right to live in the West Bank, where Christians and Muslims can live freely. This is blatant anti-Semitic discrimination.
Further, the BDS platform is not consistent with the current reality of the Middle East. We live at a time when Arab countries such as the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and others have made peace with Israel, strengthening cultural and economic ties to everyone’s benefit. The Abraham Accords herald a new era of positive transformation of the Middle East into a region in which true and lasting peace, security and economic health will take hold. The BDS movement seeks to enact change by pushing down Jews rather than raising everyone up. True peace must be beneficial to all. Israel serves as an example to the world of how democracy and freedom creates a thriving environment. BDS denies this reality and the reality of growing peace through mutually beneficial terms of cooperation. In contrast, the state of Arizona stands for traditional American values by recognizing the importance of freedom and cooperation.