By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Half a year after notifying Avi Singer, the owner of Ben & Jerry’s Israel, of the termination of the company’s contract with him due to his refusal to boycott Judea and Samaria, Unilever shares are in an unprecedented dive.
Within six months, the company’s stock plunged 20.7%, translated into a 26-billion-dollar loss. For comparison, the stock of major competitor Nestle has risen 5% in the last six months.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Jewish communities abroad, who are currently waging a wide-ranging struggle against Unilever Global, can claim credit for this achievement.
Through cooperation with 33 U.S. states that enacted anti-boycott laws against Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Jewish communities have managed to trigger the anti-boycott laws against Unilever that led to the withdrawal of investments, holdings and pension funds.
These states include New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, and Arizona.
Upon news of the stock dive Wednesday, Singer said that “this is a tremendous boost to the dogged struggle I am waging these days against Unilever’s unfounded demand not to sell ice-cream in all parts of Israel.”
Singer thanked the citizens of Israel who “continue to support the Israeli plant that employs 169 people in the periphery.”
He called on Israel to impose immediate sanctions on Unilever, which operates without interruption in Israel and receives unprecedented regulatory benefits. “It is not possible that on the one hand, Unilever will boycott Israel, and on the other hand, the IDF will continue to purchase products worth millions of shekels a year from the company,” he said.
Unilever was on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s “Global Anti-Semitism Top Ten List” for 2021. From the outset, SWC labeled the boycott “a purely political act.”
The boycott was pushed forward by its board chairwoman, Anuradha Mittal, an anti-Israel activist with a track record of endorsing the BDS movement and defending the Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist groups. Mittal was named ‘antisemite of the year’ by watchdog group StopAntisemitism.org.
“Like other anti-Israel boycotts, Arab, as well as Jewish employees living in the Holy Land, will be the ones to suffer the consequences. But Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t care. Their decision to plow profits from its products in order to brand Jews as occupiers in their own land flies in the face of the historic Abraham Accords which has seen Israel and Arab nations embrace peace, mutual respect, and expanding economic relations,” SWC warned.
“Beyond its anti-peace action, Ben & Jerry’s boycott represents a danger to Jews everywhere at a time of surging antisemitism.”
In December, the SWC made its case directly to the Illinois Investment Policy Board to divest from Unilever based on state law and ethics. The Board voted unanimously to put Unilever on the divestment list. Illinois joined other states, with divestments already reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.