City Comptroller Scott Stringer is getting the big chill from New York’s pro-Israel activists — for failing to pull Big Apple pension-fund investments from Ben & Jerry’s parent company over its Jewish State boycott.
“Ben & Jerry’s could make new flavors: Marshmallow Stringer or Jelly Stringer,” former Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, told The Post on Sunday.
Last month, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced he was divesting $111 million in New York pension-fund investments from Unilever — Ben & Jerry’s parent company — over the ice-cream maker’s refusal to sell its products in Israel-controlled disputed territories such as the heavy Palestinian-populated West Bank.
But Stringer has thus far taken a pass on pushing to withdraw New York City’s stock and other retiree-fund investments worth $187 million from Unilever/Ben & Jerry’s for participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, critics say.
Stringer manages and is chief adviser to the city’s five public employee pension funds.
Bronx Councilman Eric Dinowitz said Stringer’s office never even responded to his July 26 letter urging the comptroller to help yank city pension funds from Unilever/Ben & Jerry’s for participating in an international boycott against the Jewish State, which he claims violates city law.
“The BDS movement against Israel helps fuel antisemitism,” Dinowitz told The Post.
“He’s only in office for nine more weeks,” the councilman added of the term-limited Stringer. “We hope Comptroller Stringer makes a decision that aligns with our laws and values.”
Stringer, when contacted by The Post, would not commit to pulling the city’s investments from Ben & Jerry’s, though he claimed through his rep to be against the BDS movement.
“Comptroller Stringer is opposed to BDS actions and believes them counterproductive to the goal of peace and safety for all peoples in the Middle East,” said the comptroller’s spokeswoman, Amy Varghese. “He believes these tactics ultimately threaten efforts for a peaceful two-state solution, rather than fostering understanding and cooperation.
“As part of his due diligence as investment advisor to the five New York City systems [municipal retiree pension funds], Comptroller Stringer has reached out to Unilever to request a meeting and further information. The comptroller’s office continues to monitor the situation,” the Stringer rep said.
Stringer’s office also noted that he has to get approval from pension-board reps with the city’s five retirement pension systems before making any move. By comparison, DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the state pension fund.
But Hikind accused Stringer of offering up lame excuses and “double-speak.
“State Comptroller DiNapoli did all the homework for Stringer to divest from Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever. DiNapoil did the right thing. What is the city comptroller missing?” Hikind said.
“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.”
Stringer and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio jointly announced with much fanfare earlier this year that they were divesting $4 billion in city pension funds from fossil-fuel companies to promote clean energy and address climate change.
As for Stringer’s political future, his mayoral campaign flamed out amid sexual-harassment accusations, but sources he may be eyeing a comeback by running for Congress. Speculation is rampant that Manhattan Rep. Jerrold Nadler will retire, creating a vacancy.