Texas to ‘Limit Business’ With Ben & Jerry’s Over Israel Policy

The state of Texas announced Thursday that it will be limiting business with Ben & Jerry’s  and its parent company, Unilever following the ice cream giant’s decision to stop selling products in certain Israeli-occupied territories, according to The Hill.

The two companies have been added to a list of “companies that boycott Israel,” according to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. He explained that before adding the companies to the state’s list, his office had “carefully reviewed the statements and activities of both Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever.”

According to The Hill, Texas state law defines the term “boycott Israel” as “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.”

In July, the ice cream company said it had made a decision to stop selling products in “the Occupied Palenstinian Territory” of the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Company officials at the time said the move was not a boycott of Israel as a whole.

Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield wrote in a New York Times op-ed over the summer that while they are “proud Jews” and “supporters of the State of Israel,” they think “it’s possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we’ve opposed policies of the U.S. government.” 

“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,” Hegar explained.

Texas agencies are prohibited from doing business with companies on the list, according to The Austin American-Statesman. Additionally, state-run pension and investment funds such the Teacher Retirement System cannot invest in companies on the list.

Regarding the company’s actions regarding Israel, The Hill quoted Unilever officials stating, “Unilever has a strong and longstanding commitment to our business in Israel. Ben & Jerry’s has made it clear that although the brand will not be present in the West Bank from 2023, it will remain in Israel through a different business arrangement.”

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