Florida Governor: Place Ben & Jerry's on list of companies that boycott Israel

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says Unilever and Ben & Jerry's boycott of Judea and Samaria is in violation of the state's anti-BDS laws.

Elad Benari ,

Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis
Yoni Kempinski

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday called on the State Board of Administration (SBA) to immediately place Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever on the Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List and initiate the process to place both companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List.

The move follows the decision earlier this week by Unilever not to market Ben & Jerry's ice cream products in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.

In a letter sent to Ash Williams, the Executive Director of the State Board of Administration of Florida, DeSantis wrote, “It has come to my attention that Ben & Jerry’s has announced plans to remove its products and prohibit the sale of its ice cream in Judea and Samaria. These actions taken by Ben & Jerry’s fall squarely within the prohibited activities defined by Section 215.4725(1)(a), Florida Statutes. Ben & Jerry’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, a publicly traded company in which Florida holds multiple investments.”

“Therefore, I am requesting the State Board of Administration (SBA) immediately place Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever on the Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List, and initiate the process to place Ben & Jerry’s, and by extension Unilever, on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List. Please provide an update on the status of this process to me and the other Trustees as soon as possible,” added DeSantis.

“Should the State Board of Administration affirmatively place Unilever and its corporate entities on the Scrutinized Companies List and these companies do not cease the boycott of Israel as required by Florida law, the Board must refrain from acquiring any and all Unilever assets consistent with the law.”

“These actions affirm the State of Florida’s relationship with the State of Israel and our commitment to a swift response to those who discriminate against the Israeli people,” concluded DeSantis.

Florida follows in the footsteps of the state of Texas, whose comptroller announced on Thursday that the government is examining whether the Ben & Jerry's ice cream company violated the state's anti-BDS laws.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said his office was investigating whether Ben & Jerry's had taken a "specific action" which would trigger Chapter 808 of the Texas Government Code.

Kan 11 News reported on Thursday that Illinois and New Jersey are also considering stopping their state investment in Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever.

Earlier this week, Israel’s Ambassador to the US and the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, penned a letter to the governors of all 35 US states which have passed so-called “anti-BDS laws” and called on them to activate their states’ respective anti-BDS laws against Ben & Jerry’s.

Republicans have been calling for a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s following its announcement that it will cease selling its ice cream in Judea and Samaria.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) urged Americans to "take a stand" against Ben & Jerry’s following the decision.

"I think it’s really important that Americans here send a message to Ben & Jerry’s by not buying their ice cream, quite frankly," Malliotakis said in an interview with former Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind. "To try to deprive people of their ice cream is really just outrageous and they shouldn’t be participating in what is the BDS movement."

On Tuesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott Judea and Samaria.

“I can say I will not be eating anymore Cherry Garcia for a while,” said de Blasio in a video shared on social media.

He called the company’s decision “sad.”

“I don’t know them well but I’ve met them over the years and I think they’re good people, with good values,” de Blasio said. “But this is a mistake. They shouldn’t do this.”



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