|November 23, 2021
Contact: Kylie Mason
Phone: (850) 245-0150
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody is calling on Unilever to end a boycott against a close ally of the United States. Attorney General Moody and 11 other state attorneys general sent a letter to Unilever and its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., urging the companies to reverse their decision to boycott the State of Israel.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “It is incredibly disturbing that these companies are boycotting our long-standing ally Israel. I, along with my fellow attorneys general, strongly urge Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s to end this ill-advised, ridiculous boycott now.”
According to the letter, Ben & Jerry’s announced in July that it is “inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” and subsequently informed a licensee in the region that it would not renew its license agreement, set to expire in 2022.
The letter outlines the states’ position to the boycott, stating: “We, the Attorneys General of our respective States, write today to express our grave concerns about Unilever’s decision to engage in a boycott of the State of Israel. Not only is Israel one of our nation’s closest and most reliable allies, but it is also the only democratic nation in the region and has long been a force for peace and stability.”
The letter notes that 33 states, including Florida, have passed anti-BDS statutes that “prohibit investment of public pension funds or the awarding of government procurement contracts to companies that boycott Israel.”
Unilever attempted to sidestep responsibility for the Ben & Jerry’s boycott and refused to stop the protest, claiming that it respects Ben & Jerry’s and its independent board to make decisions with respect to their “social mission.” However, as the letter states, Ben & Jerry’s openly “declares on its website that it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, and yet it persists with its radical boycott.” The attorneys general submit that the two diverse positions, staked out by Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s, cannot be satisfactorily squared.
Further, the letter points out that Unilever holds dealings in China, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and, most alarmingly, Iran, who has publicly threatened the destruction of the Jewish state—yet Unilever has not announced boycotts of those countries despite troubling human rights records.
To read the full letter, click here.
In addition to Attorney General Moody, attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia also signed on to the letter.