Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R) is calling for a federal investigation into Ben & Jerry's over its decision to stop selling ice cream in occupied Palestinian territory.
Scott, in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina RaimondoGina RaimondoBiden and big business: It's complicated Biden to meet with business leaders amid debt ceiling pressure campaign on GOP Biden slips further back to failed China policies MORE, called for her department to open an investigation into whether the company's move violates the Export Administration Act.
The statute mandates that the president “prohibit compliance with or support of any foreign boycott against a country which is friendly to the United States, with specified exceptions.”
“Such boycotts of foreign countries are in violation of statute and horribly anti-Semitic. They have no place in the United States, and in conjunction with the Office of Antiboycott Compliance and the Department of Justice, I ask that you determine if these entities are violating statute, and if so, to hold them fully accountable,” Scott wrote in Tuesday's letter.
He added that he is “extremely concerned with Ben & Jerry’s anti-Semitic actions.”
Scott's request for an investigation is the latest in a chorus of politicians calling for increased scrutiny of Ben & Jerry’s decision. The company announced the move in July, saying, “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”
Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordBill requiring companies report cyber incidents moves forward in the Senate Manchin's 'red line' on abortion splits Democrats Lankford draws second GOP primary challenger in Oklahoma MORE (R-Okla.) last month called on his state to block the sale of Ben & Jerry’s products, citing Louisiana’s “anti-boycott of Israel law.”
“#Benandjerrys has now decided they know more about Jerusalem than the Israelis. If Ben & Jerry’s wants to have a meltdown & boycott Israel, OK is ready to respond. Oklahoma has an anti-boycott of Israel law in place,” Lankford tweeted.
#Benandjerrys has now decided they know more about Jerusalem than the Israelis. If Ben & Jerry’s wants to have a meltdown & boycott Israel, OK is ready to respond. Oklahoma has an anti-boycott of Israel law in place— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) July 21, 2021
Florida took action against Ben & Jerry’s earlier this month, placing parent company Unilever on its “Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel” list.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe CDC's Title 42 order fuels racism and undermines public health Chicago sues police union over refusal to comply with vaccine mandate Crist says as Florida governor he would legalize marijuana, expunge criminal records MORE (R) said the move was “sending a message to corporate America that we will defend our strong relationship with the Jewish State.”
“I will not stand idly by as woke corporate ideologues seek to boycott and divest from our ally, Israel,” he added.
The company’s decision has also sparked pushback in Israel.
The Israeli government reportedly established a task force last month in an effort to pressure Ben & Jerry’s into loosening restrictions against the Israeli-occupied territories.
When reached for comment, Ben & Jerry's referred The Hill to its July statement announcing the policy.