Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida sent a letter this week to Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo, asking her to investigate the move by Ben & Jerry’s to halt sales of its products in the “West Bank” and East Jerusalem areas of Israel as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the United States’ strongest Middle East ally.
Scott believes the ice cream maker’s action 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.
From a report by Juliegrace Brufke of the New York Post:
Scott noted that ending sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem requires Ben & Jerry’s to cease its licensing agreement — which expires in 2022 — with a local franchisee that is stationed in the Jewish state and has distributed the product in the region for decades…
“Given the pressure that Ben & Jerry’s faced from outside organizations, particularly those involved in the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement, including Vermonters for Palestinian Justice and SumOfUs, there is reason to believe that Ben & Jerry’s intent is to comply with an unsanctioned foreign boycott,” [Scott wrote.]
The Florida Republican called for the company to be held “ fully accountable” if the boycott is found unlawful.
Scott noted to Raimondo that she oversees the Office of Antiboycott Compliance, which is the agency that should investigate Ben & Jerry’s possibly illegal decision.
“Such boycotts of foreign countries are in violation of statute and horribly anti-Semitic,” he wrote.