Dear Mr Jope
I am writing to you as a concerned UK consumer of Unilever products about Ben & Jerry International’s (BJI) decision to stop selling its products in ‘occupied Palestinian territory’.
Unilever owns BJI.
As you will be aware the BJI decision was taken after a long campaign by groups who relentlessly pursue boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The sad irony is that while these groups pretend to promote social justice causes their campaigns damage the very people they purport to support.
Leaving to one side that BJI’s decision is founded on multiple inaccuracies, most importantly it is sending a wrong message to its audiences i.e. that BDS is a just and worthy cause to support.
In the UK context this message is particularly harmful given the steep rise in antisemitism in the UK in recent weeks.
Unilever has attempted to distance itself from this decision but your ownership of this product denies you that comfort.
I would ask that you read the recent Community Security Trust report, The_Month_of_Hate.1626263072.pdf (cst.org.uk), it highlights the connection between anti-Israel groups and antisemitism.
What must also be considered are the consequences for other Unilever products, UK consumers, lawmakers and the international community.
Unilever, and its fully owned subsidiary, BJI do not appear to have factored those consequences into this decision.
Further, many critics of this decision may take a retaliatory view, for example, the New York state pension fund has already warned that it might restrict investments in your company, while I and many other consumers and lawmakers may question why a company like Unilever would support such partisan and aggressive action.
Boycotts are rarely the answer to complicated political problems, and they are certainly not the answer to the Israel/Palestinian conflict.
I would therefore ask that Unilever use the tools available to it to reverse this reckless decision.
A failure to do so may lead to an escalation in legitimate actions against Unilever.
I look forward to hearing from you.