HELP US STOP UNILEVER’S ATTACK ON ISRAEL
Unilever in the News
West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore (pictured above) on Wednesday called on Unilever to end the...
After lawyers for Unilever subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s argued in a U.S. District Court filing...
Lawyers for Ben & Jerry’s asserted in U.S. District Court in New Jersey this week that the ice...
The CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Israeli franchise, Avi Zinger (pictured above), explained on Substack...
Unilever Corporate Contacts
If you believe Israel’s right to exist is a Basic Human Right and the practice of BDS is an outdated and immoral tactic of anti-Semites, then now is the time to act.
Call, write or email Unilever and their parent company, Ben & Jerry’s to let them know how you feel about their anti-Semitic actions in the disputed territories.
Unilever Owns Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of British multinational Unilever, which purchased the company in 2000 from founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who remain the public face of the company.
Ben & Jerry’s has what it calls a board of directors. According to the Ben & Jerry’s website, “It’s not a governing body in the conventional sense, but a (very!) independent B.O.D. that’s empowered to protect and defend Ben & Jerry’s brand equity and integrity.”
In other words, the ultimate authority over Ben & Jerry’s, including its decision to end ice cream sales in the disputed territories of Israel, resides with Unilever.
The Ben & Jerry’s board of directors initially sought a boycott of all of Israel, but claims it was thwarted by Unilever CEO Alan Jope, disproving claims that Ben & Jerry’s seeks only to protest Israeli policy in the disputed territories, or that Unilever has no control Ben & Jerry’s corporate policies.
Ben & Jerry’s board is chaired by Anuradha Mittal, who is also executive director of an anti-Israel nonprofit called the Oakland Institute. Mittal is also one of the four trustees of Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which was established to administer the charitable activities of the corporation. Oakland Institute, where Mittal draws a full-time salary, has been the recipient of more than $170,000 in grants from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation while Mittal has served as a trustee there.
National Legal and Policy Center, the sponsor of the Stop Ben & Jerry’s campaign, has filed a complaint with the IRS against the foundation and Mittal, alleging that they may have violated the prohibition on self-dealing by nonprofits in the Internal Revenue Code.
The Oakland Institute, under Mittal’s leadership, has a history of activism in support of Hezbollah and Hamas and consistently produces anti-Israel propaganda.
Prior to Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott sales in the “West Bank,” an anti-Semitic advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was enlisted to advise the board of directors before the announcement.
Besides the NLPC complaint, Florida Senator Rick Scott has said he believes the Israel boycott may violate the Export Administration Act because support for, or compliance with, a boycott against nations that are friendly to the United States is prohibited — with certain exceptions. He has asked Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to investigate the company.
Unilever and Anti-Semitism
Unilever cannot hide its collaboration with the Nazi regime in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s.
Despite resulting from a merger of English and Dutch companies in 1929, Unilever sought and enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the Nazis. Unilever invested in a large number of German businesses central to German rearmament, including shipbuilders that produced U-boats. As Unilever’s founding Chairman Paul Rykens put it, “In Germany, we are a German firm.”
Unilever replaced Jewish managers and supervisory board members of its German businesses and acquired a number of firms expropriated from Jewish owners as part of the Nazis’ Aryanization program.
In the immediate wake of the Kristallnacht, Unilever was allowed to acquire a secret minority position in the Jewish-owned banking house A. E. Wasserman. Chairman Rykens wrote, “The fact that we are only sleeping partners will restrict not only our actual liability to this amount, but also our moral responsibility.”
Unilever only abandoned the Nazis after Germany invaded Rykens’ home country of the Netherlands and the Dutch government fled to London.
Today, Unilever denies that it is anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, but refuses to reverse its decision to end Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sales in the disputed territories.
Several U.S. Senators have requested that Unilever CEO Alan Jope to reverse Ben & Jerry’s decision. A review by some legal experts insists that Unilever does have the authority to override Ben & Jerry’s when it comes to “financial and operational” decisions.
Unilever and BDS
Unilever’s assault on Israel is not taking place in a vacuum. Its action is the biggest breakthrough to date for the so-called BDS movement. BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
No matter how it portrays itself, BDS seeks to undermine and delegitimize the state of Israel.
In recognition of the threat BDS poses to Israel, 32 U.S. states have passed anti-BDS laws with an unusual breadth of support from liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats.
Several U.S. states – under existing anti-BDS laws – have announced they are divesting, or intend to divest, from Unilever due to Ben & Jerry’s actions.
Unilever cannot distance itself from anti-Semites or those who seek Israel’s destruction when it has facilitated BDS’s biggest advance. To learn more about BDS, watch this video.
Unilever and Double Standards
When pressed by public officials in the United States, Unilever does not have an explanation for singling out democratic Israel. Unilever continues to sell products in Mideast dictatorships like Iran and Syria.
Moreover, Unilever sells Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and many other products in Communist China. Until it was recently removed, Unilever’s website boasted that its factory in Taicang, China was named the “world’s most advanced ice cream factory.”
Indeed, Unilever CEO Alan Jope built his career on building Unilever’s business in China. The Unilever website brags, “When leading Unilever’s business in China, Alan doubled its size and laid important foundations for future success.”
Both the Trump and Biden administrations have formally characterized China’s policies toward Uyghurs as “genocide.”