Florida threatens sanctions on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream following boycott of Israel – CBS Miami
MIAMI (CBSMiami / NSF) – Florida and Texas are both threatening sanctions against Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after the company announced it was boycotting the sale of its product in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.
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.
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“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.
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.
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“We believe that it is incompatible with our values that 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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