Texas is now doing the same. Other states will surely follow. Unilever must be held accountable for allowing Ben & Jerry’s to implement such discriminatory and anti-Jewish policies.
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Florida ready to pull investments over Ben & Jerry’s decision
The ice cream maker’s parent company, Unilever, is expected to be added to what is known as Florida’s list of “Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel,” prohibiting state investments and contracts with the companies.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida continues to move closer to ending financial ties with ice-cream giant Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever PLC.
Ash Williams, executive director and chief investment officer of the State Board of Administration, said Tuesday he anticipates Unilever will be added to what is known as Florida’s list of “Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel,” prohibiting state investments and contracts with the companies.
The potential addition to the list is based on a decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its products in the West Bank and Gaza in 2022.
“We’ve not been not seeing any meaningful response from Unilever, period,” Williams told Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who serve as the State Board of Administration, which oversees state investments.
The state has about $139 million in holdings in Unilever and its subsidiaries.
Unilever was advised of the state’s position in July, and a 90-day period will end Oct. 26 for Ben & Jerry’s to reverse its decision to stop selling ice cream in the West Bank and Gaza.
On Monday, the State Board of Administration’s Investment Advisory Council adopted a proposed revision to the state’s investment policy statement to handle the anticipated ban, Williams said.
Williams said after the meeting he’s had contact with Unilever officials and doesn’t anticipate a change in position from the Britain-based company, which represents a “small part” of the state’s overall investments.
Florida isn’t the only state taking such action because of Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its products in the West Bank and Gaza.
Similar action was taken in the past week by New Jersey, which has about $182 million invested in Unilever stock, bonds and securities, and Arizona, which has $143 million in public funds linked to Unilever. New York and Illinois have threatened similar action.
Ben & Jerry’s has said its decision remains consistent with its values and “concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
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