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CFO Patronis: Following Israel Boycott, Ben & Jerry’s May Be Placed on Florida’s Scrutinized Companies List

7/22/2021

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 22, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

CFO Patronis: Following Israel Boycott, Ben & Jerry’s May Be Placed on Florida’s Scrutinized Companies List

TALLAHASSEE, Fla - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis issued a letter to Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, PLC following Ben & Jerry’s July 19th announcement that they plan to cut ties with Israel because the free and democratic nation is “inconsistent with our values.” The CFO believes that Ben & Jerry’s brazen refusal to do business in Israel will result in placement on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List.
 
READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW  
 
July 22, 2021

Mr. Matthew McCarthy
Chief Executive Officer
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc.
30 Community Dr Suite 1
South Burlington, VT 05403

Dear Mr. McCarthy:

As you may be aware, the State of Florida is a friend of Israel and this friendship is reflected in Florida law.

Thus, many Floridians were disappointed to hear of Ben & Jerry’s plans to boycott Israel, which is undoubtedly the most free, democratic and prosperous nation in the region. I am writing to inform you that based on your July 19 announcement that Ben & Jerry’s plans on cutting ties with Israel, because the free and democratic nation is “inconsistent with our values,” may result in your business being placed on Florida’s Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List pursuant to Florida Statutes.

As you may know, Florida law prohibits the state from investing in companies that discriminate against Israel by refusing to deal with or terminate business activities in a discriminatory matter. Thus, as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, and a Trustee of the State Board of Administration (SBA), it is my belief that Ben & Jerry’s brazen refusal to do business in Israel will result in your placement on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List. Consequently, the state would be prohibited from investing in Ben & Jerry’s or its parent company, Unilever, PLC. Further, if Ben & Jerry’s is added to the list, the company, along with Unilever PLC will become ineligible to enter into or renew contracts with the State of Florida or any Florida county or municipality.

With this notice, I am requesting Ben & Jerry’s share its plans to “remain in Israel through a different arrangement” as noted in the July 19 announcement. If my office does not receive a response, I will exercise my authority by working with Florida’s SBA to place Ben & Jerry’s on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List. I intend to raise the issue at the next meeting of the Trustees of the State Board of Administration. Therefore, I strongly encourage a response prior to Trustees meeting, which is currently scheduled for September 21, 2021.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).