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Mayor of Unilever’s US Home: Ben & Jerry’s/Israel Solution a ‘Cop-Out’

Last year, when Unilever cowered in fear after its renegade subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s announced its planned boycott of Israel, Mario Kranjac wrote in the Jerusalem Post that the ice cream maker’s “half-baked publicity stunt” was “blatant corporate hypocrisy.”

Kranjac is mayor of Englewood Cliffs, NJ, where the British conglomerate maintains its U.S. headquarters. Now that Unilever has “solved” its dilemma by selling off its Ben & Jerry’s business in Israel to its licensee in the country, Kranjac has another commentary in the Post that contends the move is no solution at all:

Unilever touts this as a public relations victory, meanwhile Ben & Jerry’s is now suing them for what’s really just a massive corporate cop out…

 

Over the past year, Unilever has made statements saying they are totally against the (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and that they were learning about the complexity of politics in Israel. Still, there’s been no repudiation of its subsidiary and its scandalous accusations.

 

Outsourcing Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s corporate and social responsibilities to a third party falls far short of standing proudly in support of Israel and its citizens…In the case of Unilever, the proper support of a democratic Israel would have been to restructure Ben & Jerry’s board and not its business in Israel…

 

When they had a chance to stand with Israel, they said they would rather let someone else do it…

 

Who will the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors target next? Will it be an ethnic group? A religious group? A political group? It’s time for Unilever to take charge of its wayward subsidiary and not outsource its parental responsibilities. The culture of canceling people and groups must not be tolerated, proliferated or accommodated.

Indeed, by simply trying to sell off its subsidiary in one location where it was causing Unilever problems, it appears the decision is only bringing the parent company more headaches. That’s what happens when you sidestep an issue instead of dealing with it head-on.

And Unilever still has a problem with Ben & Jerry’s board and its ethical problems.

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