Florida Takes Aim at Ben & Jerry’s Parent Company Unilever Over Israel Boycott

2 months ago 19
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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — State concern successful the genitor institution of the Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream concatenation could beryllium blocked aboriginal this twelvemonth aft Ben & Jerry’s announced plans to halt selling its products successful the West Bank and Gaza.

Ash Williams, enforcement manager and main concern serviceman of the State Board of Administration, said successful a letter Monday that the genitor company, Unilever PLC, has been added to what is known arsenic Florida’s database of “Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel.”

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That move, which occurred Thursday, triggered a 90-day window. If Unilever does not reverse the Ben & Jerry’s determination during that time, it would look a prohibition connected authorities concern and contracts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and authorities Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who, on with Attorney General Ashley Moody, service arsenic the State Board of Administration, issued statements Tuesday touting the determination against Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever arsenic showing enactment for Israel.

“As a substance of instrumentality and principle, the State of Florida volition not tolerate favoritism against the State of Israel oregon the Israeli people,” DeSantis said.

But successful announcing its determination past month, Ben & Jerry’s said the ice-cream shaper believes “it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s crystal pick to beryllium sold successful the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

“We’re a values-led institution with a agelong past of advocating for quality rights, and economical and societal justice,” Ben & Jerry’s said successful a July 19 connection posted connected its website. “We judge it is inconsistent with our values for our merchandise to beryllium contiguous wrong an internationally recognised amerciable occupation.”

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Unilever, which purchased Ben & Jerry’s successful 2000, besides posted a connection saying it has ever recognized the “right of the marque and its autarkic committee to instrumentality decisions astir its societal mission.”

The institution did not alteration its stance successful a treatment past week with authorities concern officials.

“The SBA (State Board of Administration) conducted an engagement telephone with Unilever Investor Relations connected July 28, 2021 and received denotation that the genitor institution has nary existent program to forestall Ben & Jerry’s from terminating concern activities successful Israeli-controlled territories,” Williams wrote successful the missive Monday to DeSantis, Patronis and Moody..

Ben & Jerry’s said connected its website that it has a licensee that manufactures crystal pick successful Israel and distributes it successful the region. The institution said it volition not renew the licence erstwhile it expires astatine the extremity of 2022 but volition stay successful Israel done a “different concern arrangement.”

Unilever is simply a conglomerate that sells products ranging from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Dove soap, according to its website.

In a quality merchandise Tuesday, DeSantis’ bureau criticized the stance of Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever, saying determination is “nothing progressive astir boycotting the lone ideology successful the Middle East.”

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(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This worldly whitethorn not beryllium published, broadcast, rewritten, oregon redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s Jim Saunders contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team

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