A group consisting of seven US state treasurers has written to Unilever urging the company to override Ben & Jerry’s boycott of Judea and Samaria.
The treasurers, from Arizona, Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Louisiana and Mississippi, said that as it was their responsibility to manage the assets of their states in accordance with the law, they were requesting “further clarification” on the company’s ability to override the boycott put in place by their subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s.
“In Unilever’s responses to state inquiries, your company has sought to deflect responsibility for Ben & Jerry’s boycott by suggesting that you have no authority over your subsidiary’s decision in this case,” the group wrote.
But they referred to a letter, which they included, that was sent to Unilever by StandWithUs and the Israeli-American Coalition for Action that alleged the “representations Unilever has made to certain state officials may not have been truthful” and noted that a review by legal experts found Unilever indeed had the ability to “reverse the [Ben & Jerry’s] board’s decision” on the boycott.
“Key legal experts have recently attested to Unilever’s authority and discretion after reviewing Ben & Jerry’s acquisition agreement,” the treasurers went on to say. “In their joint Newsweek article, Jesse Fried and David Webber, law professors at Harvard and Boston University respectively, clarified Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s joint liabilities pursuant to that agreement. They noted that Unilever’s acquisition of Ben & Jerry’s ‘specifically requires the latter to ‘help Unilever sell the premium ice cream in Israel.”
The group questioned whether Unilever’s “failure to exercise its apparent basis for overriding Ben & Jerry’s boycott may directly implicate your company as an active participant in the boycott at issue.”
The treasurers requested from Unilever CEO Alan Jope a “response that provides full clarification and transparency regarding Unilever’s ability to override the discriminatory boycott of Israel initiated by Ben & Jerry’s in light of the aforementioned letter and an explanation of why Unilever has yet to do so.”
(Israel National News North America desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)