In Ice Cream Wars, attention shifts to state anti-BDS laws
Following Ben & Jerry’s announcement on Monday that the ice cream company will stop selling its products in what it called the “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” states that have enacted legislation opposing the boycott movement, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel urged by Jewish community leaders and Israeli officials to enforce laws, some for the first time, reports Jewish initiateis Mélissa Weiss.
Blame Game: Most states are unlikely to have contracts with Ben & Jerry’s, but some do with Unilever, which acquired the Vermont-based ice cream company in 2000. One NBC News The report revealed that Unilever pushed back on Monday’s statement of the sales halt without the approval of Ben & Jerry’s board of directors, whose members objected to including a sentence that said the company would continue to sell its product in Israel. “Any chance Unilever had to walk away from that and put it on Ben & Jerry’s and say, ‘Oh, well, Ben and Jerry’s, their board is making these social impact decisions,’ they got down. sort of shot in the foot, “said a person familiar with statewide efforts to push through anti-BDS legislation. “It is now very clear that Unilever has the final say. “
On the horizon: While many states do not publicly list the companies associated with their pension funds, someone with knowledge of state-by-state law has confirmed that Texas includes Unilever in its pension portfolio. Unilever subsidiaries sell a range of products, including food, cleaning products and personal care items. “I am sure there is a lot of soap, dish detergent and Lipton iced tea and other products in the Unilever umbrella, which are purchased by state prisons, state hospitals, universities. state and other state entities that would be strongly challenged as the boycott takes hold, ”William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told JI.
The hubbub of the hills: Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) tweeted in support of Ben & Jerry’s, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) liked Bush’s tweet. Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who recently announced his candidacy for governor, called on Albany to “follow the 2016 executive order that prohibits state agencies from doing business with institutions or companies that promote BDS “. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told JI on Tuesday afternoon that she had considered tweeting about the issue, but ultimately held back because “in the end, it’s ice cream, ”she said. “Yes [Ben & Jerry’s is] will have a boycott more [oppressive] political, they have many more countries to go, ”said Wasserman Schultz. “The fact that they seem to have started with Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, just shows you that this is not a well thought out policy. It is irresponsible. And it’s not based on morality.
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Premium: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that he “won’t be eating Garcia Cherry for a while” – referring to one of the brand’s best-known flavors – and called the move “sad”. He continued, “BDS is a movement that will undermine peace in the Middle East. It’s that simple. You cannot have peace if you undermine the economic reality and create divisions. I just think it’s absolutely the wrong approach and Ben and Jerry shouldn’t be doing this.
IAEA Delays August House Travel to Israel Due to COVID
The AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation has delayed two trips scheduled for August – one for House Republicans for the first term and one for members of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees – due to concerns about the resurgence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, Jewish initiate has learned.
Change of plan: The group of GOP freshmen will now travel in February 2022, a person familiar with the plans told JI. The IAEF trip for first-year Democrats, originally scheduled for next February, is expected to go as planned. The trip of the armed services and internal security has not yet been rescheduled.
On the rise: “Given Israel’s growing concern about the Delta variant and the likelihood of further travel restrictions, we decided that it was not possible to offer members of Congress a comprehensive and informative program in the midst of current challenges, “said AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann. “The enthusiasm for travel to Israel remains high among these members of Congress, and we look forward to them visiting Israel with the IAEA. “
On the list : Eleven House Republicans had confirmed to JI in recent weeks that they were planning to join the August trip, and several more told JI they could not attend due to planning issues in August. This is AIPAC’s second major event in recent weeks to be affected by COVID – last week the organization canceled its 2022 policy conference in Washington, DC.
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