(August 19, 2021 / JNS) A U.S. senator from Florida is calling on the Department of Commerce to investigate Ben & Jerry’s for banning the sale of its products in parts of Israel.
In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Tuesday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) argued that an investigation is necessary to see if the ice-cream company’s boycott of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem violates the Export Administration Act of 1969, which states that the president is directed to “prohibit compliance with or support of any foreign boycott against a country which is friendly to the United States, with specified exceptions.”
“I am extremely concerned with Ben & Jerry’s anti-Semitic actions, and as the Office of Antiboycott Compliance is under your jurisdiction, I am calling on the Department of Commerce to initiate an investigation into whether or not Ben & Jerry’s recent decision violates the Export Administration Act of 1969,” wrote Scott.
The Florida senator said the company should be held “fully accountable” if the boycott is found to be against the law, adding “such boycotts of foreign countries are in violation of the statute and horribly anti-Semitic.”
He also noted that Ben & Jerry’s had been calling for a “withdraw ice-cream sales from the region for years.”
“Ben & Jerry’s independent board of directors passed a resolution to end sales of Ben & Jerry’s products in Israeli settlements in July 2020. This appears to be the first such decision by Ben & Jerry’s to boycott sales to a foreign country, meaning the Jewish state is the company’s first target,” he explained.
“Given the pressure that Ben & Jerry’s faced from outside organizations, particularly those involved in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, including Vermonters for Palestinian Justice and SumOfUs, there is reason to believe that Ben & Jerry’s intent is to comply with an unsanctioned foreign boycott.”
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