DeSantis takes action against Ben & Jerry's for ending sales in Israeli-occupied areas

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan DeSantis orders Florida official to investigate Facebook for 'alleged election interference' America isn't first — it's far behind — and studies point to Republicans MORE (R) is coming out against Ben & Jerry's over its recent decision to end sales of its ice cream in Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

In a letter to the State Board of Administration of Florida, DeSantis urged the agency to place Ben & Jerry's on its Continued Examination Companies that Boycott Israel List. It also called for the same to be done to Unilever, which it noted is “a publicly traded company in which Florida holds multiple investments” and that also owns Ben & Jerry's.

He also called for the agency to initiate a process to place both entities on its Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List and asked that he be provided with an update on the status of the process immediately.

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The ice cream company drew nationwide attention last week when it announced it would stop sales of its ice cream in Israeli-occupied areas.

At the time, the company, which was founded by two Jewish men, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, said it believes it's inconsistent with its values for its products “to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).” Though it added products would still be sold in Israel. 

The company cited concerns it said it heard from fans and trusted partners when announcing its decision, which comes amid increased tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

DeSantis said the actions taken by the company “fall squarely” within prohibited activities outlined in Florida statutes.

“As a matter of law and principle, the State of Florida does not tolerate discrimination against the State of Israel or the Israeli people, including boycotts and divestments targeting Israel,” DeSantis said.

He also said that if the companies don’t “cease the boycott of Israel as required by Florida law” after being placed on its Scrutinized Companies List, the agency “must refrain from acquiring any and all Unilever assets consistent with the law.”

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“These actions affirm the State of Florida’s relationship with the State of Israel and our commitment to a swift response to those who discriminate against the Israeli people,” he said. 

DeSantis is one of a number of Republican lawmakers who have voiced opposition to Ben & Jerry's over the move. 

Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) also called the decision “disgraceful.” The state is now considering options for instituting sanctions against the company.