Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-NY, on Tuesday recommended that the New York State Office of General Services add Ben & Jerry’s and its corporate owner, Unilever, to the list of companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Ben & Jerry’s announced on Monday that it would discontinue ice cream sales in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two disputed territories that both Palestinians and Israelis claim as their own. Israel conquered the lands during the Six-Day War in 1967.
“The decision by Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s to target hundreds of thousands of Jewish customers abroad with this discriminatory boycott is a disgrace and a direct embrace of the anti-Israel BDS movement,” Zeldin said in a press release.
Zeldin—who is planning to oppose Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York’s 2022 gubernatorial race—called for the General Services Office to include Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s in accordance with Executive Order No. 157, which Cuomo signed in 2016.
The order states that New York “unequivocally rejects the BDS campaign” and considers Israel “a critical and invaluable ally.” New York promises to “divest” its “money and assets” from any company that supports BDS.
“New York State must now follow the 2016 Executive Order that prohibits state agencies from conducting business with institutions or companies that promote BDS,” Zeldin said.
After Ben & Jerry’s announced the restrictions on sales in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, several US stores announced that they would either reduce their stock of the company’s ice cream or stock carrying it, according to the Geller Report.
Morton Williams, a New York-based supermarket chain with 16 stores, announced that it will reduce its Ben & Jerry’s stock by 70% to send a “strong message.”
“Our state needs to follow its self-imposed standards, lead by example, and stand up to this anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discrimination,” Zeldin said.