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Treasurer McRae calls out Ben &...

Treasurer McRae calls out Ben & Jerry’s for inaction on discriminatory boycott of Israel

By: Anne Summerhays - December 10, 2021

The Mississippi State Treasurer joins 6 state financial officers in writing a letter to Unilever.

In July, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would continue operating in Israel but stop sales in controversial settlements in Palestinian territory in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Some say Ben & Jerry’s decision constitutes a discriminatory boycott of Israel.

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement. “We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”

Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, said that it was “fully committed” to its presence in Israel, but acknowledged Ben & Jerry’s right “to take decisions about its social mission.”

Mississippi Treasurer David McRae announced Friday that he has joined six other state financial officers in calling on Unilever to reverse the ice cream manufacturer’s recent discriminatory boycott of Israel.

Treasurer David McRae

“Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott Israel was motivated by a misdirected ‘woke’ agenda,” said Treasurer McRae. “I take the discriminatory economic attack on Israel seriously, as do my colleagues across the country. It’s critical we hold those who can act on this matter accountable.”

In the letter to Unilever, the state financial officers said that it is their duty to manage state assets in accordance with state law.

“Your company [Unilever] has sought to deflect responsibility for Ben & Jerry’s boycott by suggesting that you have no authority over your subsidiary’s decision in the case, yet key legal experts have recently attested to Unilever’s authority and discretion… We respectfully request a response that provides full clarification and transparency regarding Unilever’s ability to override the discriminatory boycott of Israel initiated by Ben & Jerry’s,” the state officials continued.

You can read the full letter from State Treasurer McRae and his colleagues below.

State Treasurers’ letter to Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s by yallpolitics on Scribd

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth.