(Los Angeles, CA -- November 23, 2021) -- StandWithUs commends the attorney generals of twelve states for their joint letter on November 22 urging Unilever to reverse the discriminatory decision by Ben & Jerry’s, its wholly owned subsidiary, to boycott Israel. The letter refers to the boycott as “economic warfare” against Israel and urges Unilever to not only reverse the decision but to end its efforts to deflect responsibility.
Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs CEO, welcomed the actions by states to end economic warfare against Israel and the efforts to camouflage the intentions of such attacks, “On this Thanksgiving, we are deeply grateful to Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt for spearheading the letter. Thank you also to the attorney generals from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, who also signed on to the letter. Thank you to all the states which have taken strong measures to enforce anti-boycott laws and thank you in advance to those who are now in the process of so doing.”
The letter begins with affirming the importance of the strong U.S.-Israel bond. “Not only is Israel one of our nation’s closest and most reliable allies, but it is also the only democratic nation in the region and has long been a force for peace and stability.”
It points out the double standard that Unilever applies to Israel, pointing out that Unilever’s “corporate scruples do not extend to boycotts of nations such as China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela,” and even Iran, a US-designated state sponsor of terrorism and “a sworn enemy” of Israel.
The attorney generals reminded Unilever that 33 states have passed anti-boycott laws or executive orders prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds to invest in and/or contract with companies that boycott Israel. The letter states, “in keeping with the fiduciary duties required of Unilever under the laws of the United States and under the laws of the individual states represented by this letter, we respectfully urge you to reconsider the decision by you and your subsidiary to boycott Israel.” Their resolve was clear. “Unilever has embarked on an unfortunate and financially misguided path of testing our States’ resolve by refusing to stop Ben & Jerry’s from boycotting selected regions within the State of Israel.”
These chief financial officers called on Unilever to fulfill not only its moral, but its legal responsibility. They dismiss the Unilever statements that the boycott decision was made by an independent Ben & Jerry’s board and that Unilever has no authority to override it. “This assertion that the ‘tail’ wags the multi-billion dollar corporate ‘dog’ stretches credulity.”
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has programs on five continents with chapters and offices throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada and Brazil.
For the last ten years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).