On Tuesday, Florida formally halted all new investments in Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever, as a response to the ice-cream makers’ decision to stop selling its products in the West Bank.
At least eight states have initiated reviews of investments in Unilever in the wake of Ben & Jerry’s West Bank pullout, with Florida formally halting the same on Tuesday.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis lent strong support to Israel in July, triggering a 90-day review mandated by Florida law which mandates divestment from companies boycotting Israel. On Tuesday, the 90-day review, during which companies may notify Florida of any plans to reverse course, ended.
Ben & Jerry’s says it is ending its sales only in the West Bank and is seeking the means to continue sales in Israel, but Florida law does not make the distinction between Israel and the West Bank. As it stands, Unilever, which has disavowed the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, has previously said it has no control over Ben & Jerry’s business decisions, due to an internal agreement between the conglomerate and the ice cream manufacturer’s independent board.
As it stands, with investments now being ceased, the ruling will not affect the $39 million Florida already has invested in Unilever.