Florida, Texas Consider Banning Ben & Jerry's And Unilever Over BDS Boycott

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar have ordered investigations into whether Unilever N.V. UL and its Ben & Jerry’s subsidiary violated their respective states’ laws over participating in economic boycotts of Israel.

What Happened: Earlier this week, Ben & Jerry’s announced it will cease selling ice cream in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, claiming “it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

This makes the ice cream brand the most prominent U.S. company to sign on to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, an attempt to economically isolate Israel.

Ben & Jerry’s announcement stated that the end of its retail presence in these markets will not occur until the end of 2022, adding it would continue product sales within Israel “through a different arrangement.” Unilever’s Israeli division issued a statement saying it didn't manage Ben & Jerry’s locally and had no control over the newly announced decision.

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What Happened Next: DeSantis issued a statement requesting Florida’s State Board of Administration (SBA) place Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever on his state’s Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List and initiate the process that would place both companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List.

“As a matter of law and principle, the State of Florida does not tolerate discrimination against the State of Israel or the Israeli people, including boycotts and divestments targeting Israel,” DeSantis said, adding the state “must refrain from acquiring any and all Unilever assets” if the companies go forward with the boycott after being added to the Scrutinized Companies list.

Heger announced he was directing his staff to determine if Unilever and/or Ben & Jerry’s violated Chapter 808 of the Texas Government Code, which mirrors Florida’s laws regarding companies engaged in BDS activities. Heger also encouraged Texans to avoid Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in favor of a Texas-made product.

“Blue Bell was founded in Brenham, Texas, and, for my money, tastes much better than the stuck-up stuff made by a foreign-owned company started in Vermont,” he said.

Photo: Ben & Jerry's

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Posted In: NewsPoliticsLegalGeneralBDS MovementBen & Jerry'sBoycottGlenn HegerGov. Ron DeSantisisrael
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