Texas considers banning Ben & Jerry’s over Israel boycott

A top Texas official said Thursday he is considering banning Ben & Jerry’s statewide after the Vermont-based company announced it will no longer sell ice cream in “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar said he has directed his staff to review whether Ben & Jerry’s or its parent company Unilever have violated the state’s “boycott Israel” laws.

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Texas law under Chapter 808 bars companies from refusing, terminating business or taking “any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on or limit commercial relations” with Israel.

“Texans have made it very clear that they stand with Israel and its people,” Hegar said in a statement Thursday. “We oppose actions that could undermine Israel’s economy and its people.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BEN FRANKLIN RESOURCES, INC. 29.45 -0.48 -1.60%
UL UNILEVER PLC 55.52 -3.19 -5.43%

The announcement by Ben & Jerry’s this week is part of a larger Palestinian-led campaign to protest Israeli involvement in the West Bank and Gaza strip. 

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The move has been met with pushback from both Democrats and Republicans, despite the company’s decision to continue to sell ice cream in Israel “through a different arrangement.”

New York Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis urged people to “take a stand” against one of the most popular U.S. ice cream companies, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, said he would be forgoing “Cherry Garcia for a while.”

The Biden administration condemned the boycott as “unfairly” targeting the Jewish nation and the Israeli Prime Minister threatened that there could be “severe consequences.”

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Hegar warned his office will take “all appropriate and required actions” and encouraged Texans to get their ice cream fix locally.

“Texans have better options for a sweet treat this summer,” the top financial officer for Texas said. “Blue Bell was founded in Brenham, Texas, and, for my money, tastes much better than the stuck-up stuff made by a foreign-owned company started in Vermont.”

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