update deskBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

Texas adds Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever to list of companies boycotting Israel

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

U.S. and Texas state flags flying on the dome of the Texas State Capitol building in Austin. Credit: CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock.
U.S. and Texas state flags flying on the dome of the Texas State Capitol building in Austin. Credit: CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock.

The ice-cream company Ben & Jerry’s and its British parent company Unilever have officially been added to the list of companies in Texas that boycott Israel, announced Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Thursday.

Under Chapter 808, Texas law prohibits companies from refusing, terminating business or taking “any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on or limit commercial relations” with Israel. Companies that boycott the Jewish state could face having Texas “sell, redeem, divest or withdraw all publicly traded securities of the company.”

In a press release, he said that his office “carefully reviewed statements and activities” of Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever’s before deciding that they are “suitable candidates” for the list, which currently includes 11 companies.

He added that “Texas law is clear on this issue, and my office has long supported Israel through our Israel bond holdings, as well as our lists of scrutinized companies with ties to Iran and those with ties to foreign terrorist organizations.”

Ben & Jerry’s announced on July 19 that it would stop selling its products in areas it referred to as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”—namely, the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem.

According to state law, the Texas government must now tell Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever about their inclusion on the list and warn them they “may become subject to divestment by state governmental entities.”

Within 90 days after being notified, companies “must cease boycotting Israel in order to avoid qualifying for divestment by state governmental entities.”

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