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Sen. Rick Scott calls on Department of Commerce to launch probe into Ben & Jerry’s

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is contacting on the Office of Commerce to launch an investigation into Ben & Jerry’s for banning product sales in areas of Israel, arguing that the ice cream conglomerate’s boycott of the West Bank may perhaps violate the Export Administration Act. 

The firm introduced its freeze on advertising ice cream in the area in July, citing its assist of Palestine — a shift that sparked potent backlash from community officers.

In a letter sent to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Tuesday, Scott accused Ben & Jerry’s of antisemitism, asserting he thinks a probe is necessary to see if the ban is in violation of the law. 

“I am creating to you in light of the final decision by Ben & Jerry’s, an American company which is wholly owned by Unilever, to take part in a overseas boycott, banning gross sales of its ice cream in parts of Israel,” het wrote. “I am exceptionally worried with Ben & Jerry’s anti-Semitic actions, and as the Business of Antiboycott Compliance is less than your jurisdiction, I am contacting on the Division of Commerce to initiate an investigation into no matter if or not Ben & Jerry’s current final decision violates the Export Administration Act of 1969.” 

A Ben & Jerry’s ice-product shipping truck is observed at their manufacturing unit in Be’er Tuvia, Israel on July 20, 2021.
REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Underneath the Export Administration Act of 1969, the president is directed to “prohibit compliance with or assist of any international boycott versus a place which is helpful to the United States, with specified exceptions.”

Scott pointed out that ending sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem demands Ben & Jerry’s to stop its licensing agreement — which expires in 2022 —  with a nearby franchisee that is stationed in the Jewish point out and has distributed the product or service in the area for decades. 

“Ben & Jerry’s operates in Israel as a result of a licensee, an Israeli company that has distributed ice product through the region given that 1987 and operates 1 of its few overseas manufacturing facilities. In addition to the production facility, the licensee permits Ben & Jerry’s to operate two scoop retailers and distribute ice product to be marketed in merchants during the region, such as in Judea and Samaria,” he ongoing. 

The Florida Republican took purpose at the company’s statement which reported remaining in the spot is “‘inconsistent with [their] values and because of ‘concerns shared with us by our lovers and trustworthy associates,’” and pointed out that Ben & Jerry’s — which has clashed with its father or mother corporation, Unilever, around the brand’s existence in the region – its board experienced been contacting for a “withdraw ice product profits from the location for yrs.”

More, Ben & Jerry’s independent board of directors handed a resolution to end sales of Ben & Jerry’s goods in Israeli settlements in July 2020. This appears to be the very first this sort of conclusion by Ben & Jerry’s to boycott sales to a  foreign nation, this means the Jewish Condition is the company’s 1st goal,” he ongoing.  

“Given the force that Ben & Jerry’s faced from outdoors companies, notably those associated in the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) motion, such as Vermonters  for Palestinian Justiceand SumOfUs, there is rationale to consider that Ben & Jerry’s intent is to comply with an unsanctioned international boycott.”

The Florida Republican called for the firm to be held “ absolutely accountable” if the boycott is observed illegal.

“I am urging you to launch an investigation to identify if Ben & Jerry’s or Unilever has violated the Export Administration Act. Such boycotts of international countries are in violation of statute and horribly anti-Semitic,” he concluded. 

“They have no spot in the United  States, and in conjunction with the Office of Antiboycott Compliance and the Department of Justice, I ask that you identify if these entities are violating statute, and if so, to maintain them absolutely accountable.” 

Scott’s criticisms of Ben & Jerry’s are reliable for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) call for disciplinary motion, with the governor getting just lately taken action to area Ben & Jerry’s on its State Board of Administration check out record, which delivers a firm 90 times to “cease the boycott of Israel in purchase to avoid qualifying for investment decision prohibition” beneath condition law, NBC information studies. 

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