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Pressure ratchets up on Unilever to end Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream boycott

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 Pressure is intensifying on the British company Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream brand, because of its announcement in July not to allow products to be sold in Judea and Samaria, and parts of Jerusalem.

Ben & Jerry’s Israel CEO Avi Zinger told the Israeli business daily Globes that Unilever thought the uproar would blow over after a few weeks.

“The opposite has happened, and processes that needed time to gain momentum are happening now—more and more states and institutions are withdrawing investments, state governors are publishing harsh declarations and withdrawing their money,” reported Zinger.

He has been pushing for the Israeli government to pressure the U.S. administration to act against Unilever for violating laws pertaining to BDS and anti-BDS legislation.

The company’s stock price has dropped about 12 percent in the past few months ever since a backlash erupted over its new sales policy.

According to the report, the moves against Unilever began with removing the investment in Unilever by seven U.S. states that have massive pension fund investments. New York had pension fund holdings of $100 million in the company’s shares; another 33 states are considering taking similar measures.

Attorney generals from 12 states wrote to Unilever CEO Alan Jope last week expressing their concern over the boycott.

Earlier this year, several U.S. Ben & Jerry’s franchisees sent a letter to the company calling on them to rescind their July 19 decision to stop doing business in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Last month, four lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Unilever should amend its regulatory filings to reflect the potential risks shareholders face over the ice-cream maker’s decision to boycott Israeli settlements.

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