The state of Texas announced on Thursday that it has placed Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever on its list of businesses that boycott Israel, advancing the process by which the state would divest from both businesses.
“As with any of our listing decisions, my office, in cooperation with our research providers, carefully reviewed statements and activities by both Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever before concluding that they are suitable candidates for the Texas list,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said.
“Texas law is clear on this issue, and my office has long supported Israel through our Israel bond holdings as well as our lists of scrutinized companies with ties to Iran and those with ties to foreign terrorist organizations,” he added.
Hegar stated that the action was taken pursuant to Texas Government Code Chapter 808, which sets out the definition of what actions a company takes that constitutes an ‘Israel’ boycott.
This includes “refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or with a person or entity doing business in ‘Israel’ or in an Israeli-controlled territory,” he said.
Texas is the fourth US state to take action against the global ice cream company in recent weeks.
Arizona becomes the first state to completely divest $143 million from Ben & Jerry’s.
Florida announced on Wednesday it would end its financial ties with Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s, saying that the company “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.
New Jersey has given Unilever 90 days to convince Ben & Jerry’s to walk back the announcement before the state would move forward with the divestment of pension fund assets.
There are 34 US states in total that require their governments to stop doing business with companies that boycott the occupation state.
So far eight states are known to have triggered similar reviews that could result in divesting from Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever. In addition to Arizona, New Jersey, Texas and Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Rhode Island have launched formal proceedings.
The Well-known American firm announced in July that it will no longer sell its products for settlements in the West Bank and the eastern part of Jerusalem.
The firm, known for its progressive activities, has been silent on social media since last May, when ‘Israel’ were bombarding the besieged Gaza strip, killing over 250 Palestinians, most of them were children and women.
The company said in a statement on its website “it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”
Israel’s Ambassador to the US and UN Gilad Erdan said he sent letters to the governors of the 35 American states that have anti-BDS laws, asking them to act against Ben & Jerry’s decision.
“I urged them to act against Ben & Jerry’s decision to not sell its products in the eastern part of Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria. We will make clear to Ben & Jerry’s that its antisemitic decision will have consequences,” Erdan said.