Claiming that he opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a reporter for a Jewish newspaper on Wednesday that he hopes Unilever will show economic support for the nation, despite its refusal to stop subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s from boycotting Israel.
From the Brooklyn-based publication Hamodia:
At de Blasio’s daily press conference Wednesday, a Hamodia reporter asked the mayor if, since Unilever has made it clear it would not force Ben & Jerry’s hand, “Are you moving toward calling for divestment, or do you still think that’s not a good idea?”
“I think there’s a solution still possible that would be better and ideal,” the mayor replied. “If there’s no willingness on Unilever’s part, then that’s a different discussion…what I would say before divestment is they should get one more chance to put their money where their mouth is, and announce investments they will make for Israelis and Palestinians, to help move forward the peace process, which really will have a huge economic component.
If we’re going to have peace, it will be, I think, largely through addressing a lot of the underlying economic challenges for everyone in the area. And international companies investing more in Israel is part of the answer. If they make that kind of commitment, I’d be very receptive. If they refuse, then divestment becomes a much more necessary option.”
The terms of De Blasio and city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who has also said he opposes the BDS movement, end in January. Comptroller-elect Brad Lander has praised Ben & Jerry’s and has indicated he will not divest from Unilever, according to Hamodia.
Stringer has come under fire recently for his failure to act on the matter.