Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered his state board of administrators to place Unilever on its list of 'scrutinized companies' which is made up of companies that participate in boycotts of Israel after a decision by subsidiary Ben & Jerry's to end sales in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem last month
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement Tuesday after he directed the state's board of administrators to place the company on the list, which is made up of companies that participate in boycotts of Israel or limit commercial activities with the Jewish state.
The designation means Unilever has 90 days to force Ben & Jerry's to reverse its boycott or become subject to a prohibition on state investments in the company and against contracting with it or its subsidiaries.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Perhaps most painfully for the company, it could mean Florida would prohibit state pension funds holding any investment in Unilever.
'As a matter of law and principle, the State of Florida will not tolerate discrimination against the State of Israel or the Israeli people,' DeSantis said in a statement Tuesday. '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.'
The decision would mean Unilever has 90 days to force Ben & Jerry's to end its boycott or face prohibition on Florida state investments in the company and against contracting with it or its subsidiaries. Pictured Ben & Jerry's main factory in Beer Tuvia, Israel on July 22
The sunshine state is home to a relatively large Jewish population of 657,095 permanently living in the state, which is the third highest in the US behind New York and California.
Other companies to be included on Florida's list include Airbnb, which announced in 2018 that it would cease listing properties in the West Bank.
DeSantis first directed his State Board of Administration to place Unilever on the list on July 22, three days after Ben & Jerry's made the announcement that it would stop ice cream sales in the contested areas, saying they were 'inconsistent with our values.'
Ben & Jerry's cofounders Bennett Cohen (left) and Jerry Greenfield (right), who sold the company to Unilever in 2000, have supported its decision
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Unilever CEO Alan Jope (pictured above in New York in 2019) said that while his company remains 'fully committed' to Israel, it cannot force its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry's, to reverse its decision to stop selling ice cream in Jewish settlements on the Israeli-occupied West Bank
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office said it would probe placing Ben & Jerry's on a blacklist banning it from doing business with the state in response to its Palestine policy
The board says that on July 28 it made an 'engagement call' with Unilever Investor Relations during which the company, it says, told them it 'has no current plan to prevent Ben & Jerry’s from terminating business activities in Israeli-controlled territories.'
The call came the same day, DeSantis noted in his Tuesday