Florida may boycott Ben & Jerry’s over ice cream company decision not to sell in occupied Palestinian territories

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  • Photo via Ron DeSantis / Twitter
  • Top Florida politicians to weigh in on Ben & Jerry’s boycott after the ice cream company decides to stop selling in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Florida could put Ben & Jerry’s on ‘scrutinized’ list of companies that bans government contracts or investments because ice cream maker plans to shut down doing business in territories it thinks Israel doesn’t should not control.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis on Thursday informed Ben & Jerry’s and its London-based parent company Unilever that Florida would be banned from investing in either company. Businesses would also become ineligible to enter into or renew contracts with state or local governments.

“Florida law prohibits the state from investing in companies that discriminate against Israel by refusing to process or terminate business activities in a discriminatory case,” Patronis wrote to Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy.

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Patronis added that he intended to raise the issue at a state cabinet meeting on September 21. Patronis, Governor Ron DeSantis, and Attorney General Ashley Moody are directors of a board of directors that oversees the state pension fund. Similar action was briefly taken by the state board in January 2019 against the home sharing platform Airbnb when the company delisted around 200 West Bank properties. The state’s ban was lifted a few months later when Airbnb changed its policies.

Unilever this week announced plans to seek a new deal to sell the Ben & Jerry’s brand in Israel outside of the territories the Palestinians claim to be theirs.

“We believe it is incompatible with our values ‚Äč‚Äčthat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” Ben & Jerry’s announced. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

A Unilever statement called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “a very complex and sensitive situation” and said the company remained “fully committed to our presence in Israel”.

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