Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) wants to place popular ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s on the state scrutinized companies list. In addition, he also requested the inclusion of Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, to the list.
Ben & Jerry’s To Stop Selling In Israel-Occupied Palestine Territory
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his demand after the activist ice cream company announced it will stop selling products in the West Bank. Selling in occupied Palestinian territories is “inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.”
Meanwhile, Florida state law expressly forbids the state from investing in any company that discriminates against Israel. Specifically, it includes any Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Many US states made laws that make BDS activities illegal. Many view BDS moves against Israel as antisemitic by its critics.
Ron DeSantis: Florida Has A Strong Relationship With Israel
Gov. Ron DeSantis also noted the strong relationship of his state with the Jewish nation. “As you know, Florida has long had a strong relationship with the State of Israel. As a matter of law and principle, the State of Florida does not tolerate discrimination against the State of Israel” or its people. This includes “boycotts and divestments targeting Israel,” the Florida governor wrote last July 22.
“It has come to my attention that Ben & Jerry’s has announced plans to remove its products and prohibit the sale of its ice cream in Judea and Samaria. These actions taken by Ben & Jerry’s fall squarely within the prohibited activities defined by Section 215.4725(1)(a), Florida Statutes. Ben & Jerry’s is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, a publicly-traded company in which Florida holds multiple investments,” he wrote. Additionally, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that “Therefore, I am requesting the State Board of Administration (SBA) immediately place Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever on the Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List, and initiate the process to place Ben & Jerry’s, and by extension Unilever, on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List.”
Florida To Drop Its Businesses With Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s In Retaliation
In addition, Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened that a similar boycott would happen to Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s. Once they join the scrutinized companies list, he will sanction both if they continue with their boycott of Israel. DeSantis added that “These actions affirm the State of Florida’s relationship with the State of Israel and our commitment to a swift response to those who discriminate against the Israeli people.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli Ambassador to the US and the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, urged individual states that forbid BDS campaigns against Israel to punish Ben & Jerry’s for its decision. Erdan said that Ben & Jerry’s boycott of regions of Israel is antisemitic and contributes to the “dehumanization of the Jewish people.” He also said that based on laws legislated by over 35 States, the ice cream maker’s actions can be seen as dehumanizing the Jewish people.
Do you agree that Ben & Jerry’s decision to not sell in the West Bank is a boycott? Also, do you think that DeSantis’ threats to sanction Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s will work to reverse the decision?
Let us know what you think. Share your comments below.