ORLANDO, Fla. — At the urging of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida placed Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, on its list of scrutinized companies that boycott Israel.
On July 22, DeSantis sent a letter to the Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer of the Florida State Board of Administration (SBA), Ash Williams, requesting that the SBA start the process of placing Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever on the list.
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The move comes after the company’s announcement that it would remove its products and prohibit the sale of its ice cream in Judea and Samaria.
“As a matter of law and principle, the State of Florida will not tolerate discrimination against the State of Israel or the Israeli people,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “By placing Ben & Jerry’s Fortune 500 parent company Unilever on our List of Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel, Florida is sending a message to corporate America that we will defend our strong relationship with the Jewish State. I will not stand idly by as woke corporate ideologues seek to boycott and divest from our ally, Israel.”
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If a company does not cease its boycott of Israel within 90 days of being placed on the list, it becomes subject to an investment prohibition and the State of Florida will not contract with the company or its subsidiaries.
“Israel is a friend of Florida, it’s a thriving democracy with incredible people and culture and Ben & Jerry’s decision to very publicly discriminate against Israel was a shortsighted attempt to virtue signal to folks on the radical left,” said Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis. “Thanks to Governor DeSantis for upholding Florida law and sending a strong message to companies everywhere that if you’ve got a problem with Israel, the State of Florida has a problem with you. The second Ben & Jerry’s decided to discriminate against Israel, it affected Florida’s ability to make investments with its parent company. We’ll continue working with the SBA to ensure Florida law is upheld for those who target our friends in Israel.”
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Following the governor’s letter, the SBA reached out to Unilever and had a call with the company on July 28th. During this call, the SBA was informed that Unilever had no plans to prevent Ben & Jerry’s from terminating its business activities in Israel.
On that same day, the founders of the company, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, published an op-ed in the New York Times asserting that they are “proud of” what they consider to be the company’s “especially brave” actions which “align its business and operations with its progressive values.”
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The SBA will now send Unilever a written notice informing the company of its scrutinized company status.
A release from the governor’s office stated: If Ben & Jerry’s does not cease its boycott of Israel within 90 days of being placed on the list, Unilever will become subject to an investment prohibition and the State of Florida will not contract with Unilever or its subsidiaries.
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