Arkansas joins call for Ben & Jerry’s to lift boycott on selling ice cream in parts of Israel


Truck are parked at the Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream factory in the Be’er Tuvia Industrial area, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the head of Unilever on Tuesday that Israel will “act aggressively” against Ben & Jerry’s over the subsidiary’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The state of Arkansas has joined a multi-state effort to push ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s to reverse a boycott the company announced focused on Israel.

The 12-state effort is being led by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is one of the co-signers.

In a news release sent Monday, Schmitt called the decision by the frozen dessert company “ill-advised” and accused their parent company Unilever of “virtue signaling.”

“Today I was proud to lead a 12 state coalition in calling on Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s to reverse their ill-advised boycott of the State of Israel. Israel is a strong ally of the United States and remains the only democratic nation in the region,” Schmitt said in a release. “Further, if Unilever is so interested in virtue-signaling, why not announce a boycott of countries like China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or especially Iran, who has promised the complete destruction of Israel? Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s should reverse their boycott immediately.”

The company announced the boycott in July, saying it would stop having sales of its product in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem.

Company officials said at the time that selling in those areas, which were areas of conflict be Jewish and Palestinian communities, was “inconsistent with our values.”

In addition to Arkansas and Missouri, attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia signed the letter to Ben & Jerry’s.

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