Ben & Jerry’s current Israeli contractor, Avi Zinger (pictured above), has made that argument repeatedly since the ice cream maker announced plans to sever ties with him last summer. He reiterated it over the weekend after Unilever CEO Alan Jope told reporters last week that the company’s “absolute focus” is on developing a “new arrangement” for Ben & Jerry’s starting next year.
“There is no legal possibility to continue selling in Israel without selling in Judea and Samaria,” said Zinger, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Calling those regions “Occupied Palestinian territories,” Ben & Jerry’s refuses to sell its ice cream there. It hopes to replace Zinger with a contractor who will support its boycott.
However, as FoxBusiness.com notes, Israeli government officials are scrutinizing Unilever’s plans with an eye toward enforcing its anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions law. That follows separate requests by members of the U.S. House and Senate that the Securities and Exchange Commission investigate whether Unilever deceived investors about its subsidiary’s Israel boycott.
From the Fox Business report:
Unilever should “pull the plug” on the Ben & Jerry’s independent board, said Tom Anderson, director of the government integrity project for the National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group that monitors government and corporations.
“The Ben & Jerry’s board has always been the problem,” Anderson told Fox Business. “Unilever needs to put in rules so they don’t have a runaway board.”
Anderson added he supports an SEC probe.
“We’ve seen in the past other companies come under scrutiny for far less,” Anderson said. “There is a lot of public interest in this matter.”