Florida Gov. DeSantis Weighs State Action After Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott

A view of the entrance of the ice-cream shop inside the Ben & Jerry's factory in Be'er Tuvia in southern Israel, on July 21, 2021. - Ben & Jerry's announced that it will stop selling ice cream in the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories since it was "inconsistent with our values", although …
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is weighing state action following the famed, ultra-left Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company announcing it will no longer sell its product in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or what it described as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the company said in a July 19 statement on its website:

We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.

Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.

The decision was met with swift backlash, and now, state leaders are seeking to take action as well.

DeSantis asked for the company, as well as Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, to be placed on “Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List,” as detailed in a letter to the State Board Administration:

A spokesperson for DeSantis told FOX Business that inclusion on the “Scrutinized Companies List” would prevent the board from buying stock in Unilever, parent of Ben & Jerry’s, and its corporate entities. The state would also be unable to contract with these companies unless they ended their boycott.

“As you know, Florida has long had a strong relationship with the State of Israel,” the letter reads.

“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,” it continues.

Similarly, Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar said he is considering banning the ice cream giant and “has directed his staff to review whether Ben & Jerry’s or its parent company Unilever have violated the state’s ‘boycott Israel’ laws,” according to Fox News:

Texas law under Chapter 808 bars companies from refusing, terminating business or taking “any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on or limit commercial relations” with Israel.

“Texans have made it very clear that they stand with Israel and its people,” Hegar said in a statement Thursday. “We oppose actions that could undermine Israel’s economy and its people.”

Hegar ultimately said his office will take “all appropriate and required actions.”

Several supermarket chains in New York have pulled the ice cream over the boycott, as Breitbart News reported:

Seasons, an upscale kosher supermarket chain located in New York and New Jersey, sent a message to customers Monday. They said, “Seasons has removed all Ben and Jerry’s products from all its stores as a result of the ice cream maker’s decision to cease sales in parts of Israel. We stand with Israel. Always.”

Morton Williams Supermarkets board of directors met Monday evening, according to the New York Post to discuss and agree to “reduce the Ben & Jerry’s products it sells in its 16 stores by 70 percent.” The board also agreed to stop promoting the ice cream company in the weekly circulars and put the products in the “least desirable locations,” co-owner Avi Kaner told The Post. “You’ll be able to find the product, but you’ll have to look for it,” Kaner said.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has since released a pointed statement on the boycotts, referring to it as a “new type of terrorism.”

“The boycott against Israel is a new type of terrorism — economic terrorism. Terrorism that seeks to harm Israeli citizens and the Israeli economy. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism of any kind,” Herzog reportedly said.

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