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Florida Governor Places Unilever on ‘Scrutinized’ List Amid Ben & Jerry’s Sales Halt Conflict

© AP Photo / Richard DrewFILE - In this Thursday, March 15, 2018 file photo, the logo for Unilever appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Consumer products giant Unilever, said Thursday July 23, 2020, that second-quarter sales were only slightly lower than the same period a year ago despite the lockdown measures triggered by the global fight against the coronavirus.
FILE - In this Thursday, March 15, 2018 file photo, the logo for Unilever appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Consumer products giant Unilever, said Thursday July 23, 2020, that second-quarter sales were only slightly lower than the same period a year ago despite the lockdown measures triggered by the global fight against the coronavirus. - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.08.2021
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Over the last several weeks, the decision by American ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s to halt the sales of its sweets in the West Bank and East Jerusalem prompted outrage as US officials opted to implement their own responses against the US creamery. Now, Florida officials have weighed in and taken a page from the company’s own move.
Florida has placed Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, on a state watch list after the creamery recently decided to halt some of its operations in “occupied territories” along the Israeli state, it was revealed on Tuesday. 
Gov. Ron DeSantis made the grand revelation via a Tuesday statement in which he detailed that Unilever was being tacked onto Florida’s “Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel” list after he initially submitted a request in late July, just moments after the creamery announced its shift in business practices.
The release from the governor’s office specifies that if Unilever does not back down on its sales halt within the next 90 days, it will effectively become subject to an investment prohibition and will see any contracts with the company or its subsidiaries cut.
“As a matter of law and principle, the state of Florida will not tolerate discrimination against the state of Israel or the Israeli people,” DeSantis said in a statement accompanying the release. “By placing Ben & Jerry’s Fortune 500 parent company Unilever on our List of Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel, Florida is sending a message to corporate America that we will defend our strong relationship with the Jewish State.” 
© AFP 2021 / Wilfredo LeeFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures as he speaks, Monday, June 14, 2021, at the Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside, Fla. DeSantis visited the South Florida temple to denounce anti-Semitism and stand with Israel, while signing a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to set aside moments of silence for children to meditate or pray
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures as he speaks, Monday, June 14, 2021, at the Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside, Fla. DeSantis visited the South Florida temple to denounce anti-Semitism and stand with Israel, while signing a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to set aside moments of silence for children to meditate or pray - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures as he speaks, Monday, June 14, 2021, at the Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside, Fla. DeSantis visited the South Florida temple to denounce anti-Semitism and stand with Israel, while signing a bill into law that would require public schools in his state to set aside moments of silence for children to meditate or pray
“I will not stand idly by as woke corporate ideologues seek to boycott and divest from our ally, Israel,” he added.
Jimmy Patronis, who serves as the chief financial officer for the Sunshine State, further underscored in the release that “Ben & Jerry’s decision to very publicly discriminate against Israel was a shortsighted attempt to virtue signal to folks on the radical left.”
The strongly-worded release from the governor’s office also emphasized that steps taken with the Florida State Board of Administration were intentionally done to “deter any other woke corporation that might consider” cutting ties with Israel. 
“There is nothing progressive about boycotting the only democracy in the Middle East,” the release states after detailing a recent opinion piece authored by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the ice cream company’s founders.
The latest only comes days after the Permanent Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilead Erdan, issued multiple letters to US governors urging them to strike back at Ben & Jerry’s through their state’s legislation against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israeli officials also kicked things up after some 90 Knesset members signed a letter urging Ben & Jerry’s to backtrack their decision.
To date, Unilever has stood firm and stressed that it wholly intends to remain “fully committed” to Israel, regardless of the creamery’s late July announcement that it would no longer operate in areas it considered occupied by the Israeli state.
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