Senate Republicans Ask Unilever to ‘Override’ Ben & Jerry’s ‘Misguided’ West Bank Boycott
Seven Republican members of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry have urged Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, to reverse the ice cream maker’s sales ban in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
The group of senators sent a letter to Unilever CEO Alan Jope on Monday, calling for action against the British conglomerate’s subsidiary that announced in July it would stop selling its products in areas it termed “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) spearheaded the letter, and was joined by Senators Roger Marshall (R-KN), John Thune (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mike Braun (R-IN).
“As strong supporters of Israel, we believe the actions taken by Ben & Jerry’s are an effort to advance the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel,” the group wrote. “We oppose the BDS movement and believe it is important for the United States to combat the movement as a number of countries have sought to isolate Israel, our sole democratic ally in the Middle East, through BDS actions.”
Arguing that Unilever has the ability to prevent its subsidiary from acting on its “misguided decision” against Israel, the group also noted that a number of states have passed anti-BDS legislation and may soon divest from Unilever over the boycott.
“While we understand it is both Unilever’s and Ben & Jerry’s intention to continue to sell ice cream in Israel, the decision to stop selling in certain areas will undoubtedly embolden Israel BDS supporters and could have unintended consequences,” the senators continued. “As members of the United State Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, we will continue working to ensure that our relationship with Israel remains strong, and that the United States takes a strong stance against the BDS movement. We urge you to use your authority to reverse course.”
The Florida State Board of Administration confirmed to The Algemeiner on Thursday that state and local governments have officially stopped purchasing new investments in Unilever effective Tuesday, three months after the company was placed on Florida’s list of companies that boycott Israel.