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Texas involved in Israeli battle with Ben & Jerry’s over boycott on the west bank

The entrance to the ice cream shop in the Ben & Jerry factory in Be’er Tuvia, southern Israel, on July 21, 2021.

Emmanuel Dunant | AFP | Getty Images

The battle between Israel and Palestinians has spilled over into 30 US states that have enacted legislation banning the investment of pension funds in companies that refuse to do business with the Jewish state.

The freshest examples include the socially friendly ice cream brands Ben & Jerry’s, West Bank and Texas.

Earlier this week, Ben & Jerry’s board said it would no longer allow sales in areas that Israel believes should not be controlled. The company said in a statement, “We believe it is inconsistent with our values ​​for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sold in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Today, owned by global consumer giant Unilever, the company has been selling its brand in Israel for decades through local Israeli distributors. Unilever said it would seek a New Deal to sell ice cream in Israel, but not in the areas Palestinians claimed for their state.

In Israel, businesses cannot treat their customers and subsidiaries differently in what Israel calls “conflict areas” and in what much of the world recognizes as Israeli territory. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said this week “Act positively” against ice cream companiesFounded in 1978 by Jewish and progressively oriented Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

The American and Texas flags fly over the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Now Texas is starting to get involved.

A spokesman for Republican Governor Greg Abbott told CNBC on Tuesday night: “Ben and Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, must overturn this misunderstood decision,” the statement added.

Abbott signed the bill four years ago, forcing it to sell its Texas pension fund from a company that boycotts Israel.

State Congressman Glenn Hegar, who manages billions of dollars in assets for Texas’ public pension fund, has already told his office to take action. In a statement to CNBC, he “instructed staff to determine if Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever would trigger a listing under Chapter 808 of Texas Government Act.” Said.

Sales in states with boycott prevention laws may also be affected. If Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever bid on a public contract, they could be disqualified if the boycott became a reality.

Jimmy Patronis, CFO of Florida State University, who manages the public pension fund, told CNBC on Tuesday morning that his office had begun to discuss the issue. “I think I’m very concerned about what’s going on,” he said in the text. But he wasn’t ready to say what to do.

Airbnb was the last company to get involved in a similar issue. In 2018, the rental site said it banned the list of Israeli real estate on the west bank, claiming that territorial Palestinians should be part of their state.

Israeli Airbnb list

Airbnb

However, the company turned around a few months later and is now looking at the list on a “case-by-case approach,” according to a statement on its website.

Ben & Jerry’s board, which has its own agreement with its parent company Unilever, has acknowledged its large role in making decisions on social issues and has begun a move to withdraw from Israel this week.

After a statement by Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever announced on Monday that it “is committed to its presence in Israel, which has invested in people, brands and businesses for decades.” In addition, the company’s CEO spoke with Bennett this week. After the meeting, the new Israeli Prime Minister said, “This is an action with serious consequences, including legal issues, and Israel will take strong action against boycotts directed at its citizens.” It was.

Ben & Jerry’s Chairman Anurada Mittal has not responded to CNBC about the impact of the decision and the potential for the state’s pension fund to be sold from Unilever. In a telephone interview Thursday, Ben & Jerry’s spokesman Shawn Greenwood said in a Monday issue, “The company has nothing to add other than the original statement.”

Talk to NBC News Earlier this week, Mittal followed that it issued its own statement on the issue of calling Unilever “deception.” She added, “I can’t stop thinking that this is what happens when you have a board of all women and people who are pushing you to do the right thing.”

Unilever has not returned CNBC’s phone calls or emails asking them to respond to a possible sale by the state pension fund.

Texas involved in Israeli battle with Ben & Jerry’s over boycott on the west bank

Source link Texas involved in Israeli battle with Ben & Jerry’s over boycott on the west bank

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