Ben & Jerry’s is in so much hot water politically these days that its ice cream must be melting everywhere.
In July, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company announced that it would no longer extend licensing for its product to the Israeli company that holds the franchise in the country once its current contract expires. Actually, the move came only after the local Israeli firm which hold the Israel of Ben & Jerry’s franchising rights refused to accept the company’s demand that it ensure that their product not be made available for sale anywhere in the West Bank that is under Israeli control.
The decision has met with derision in the U.S. and a number of states there, such as New York and New Jersey, have already moved to divest their pension funds from Unilever’s stock.
Now, seven state treasurers from seven different states have called on Unilever to reverse its decision to boycott Israel. The states include Arizona, Idaho, Oklahoma, Nebraska, West Virginia, Louisiana and Mississippi. That is, they have signed on to a letter that was sent by StandWithUus, an organization that defends Israel from political attacks.
The letter opens with the statement that as state treasurers the authors are familiar with the relevant laws and asked Unilever clarify for them the company’s rules that would allow it to override the decision made by its Ben & Jerry’s subsidiary. Their query was based on a previous letter sent to Unilever by StandWithUs which stated that a review by legal experts found that that the Ben and Jerry’s Board exceeded its contractual powers when it decided on the boycott and so Unilever can reverse the Board’s decision.
StandWithUs has condemned the Unilever’s move saying, “Unilever’s actions empower extremists who oppose Israel’s existence, and despite multiple requests to reverse course, the company has refused to do so.”