Tel Aviv…Several sources including the prestigious Israeli business publication Globes are reporting that the British multinational consumer goods company Unilever, may be ready to change course on its controversial Ben & Jerry’s decision. The kashrus world has debated the wisdom of withholding hashgacha from Ben & Jerry’s until it reverses its decision to bar sales of the ice cream products in Judea and Samaria. Unilever's share price has fallen about 12% over the past few months, since the dispute erupted in July, a much bigger fall than the share price of other major consumer goods companies.
The first economic steps taken to counter Ben & Jerry’s decision was the disinvestment from Unilever shares traded on Wall Street by seven US states including Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Arizona, which have major pension fund investments. New York alone had pension fund holdings of $100 million in the corporation's shares. Another 33 states have said they are considering taking similar action against Unilever and Ben and Jerry's, which is based in Vermont. Ben & Jerry's Israel CEO Avi Zinger told "Globes" that Unilever and Ben & Jerry's thought that the storm would blow over after two weeks and the criticism would subside. "The opposite has happened and processes that needed time to gain momentum are happening now - more and more states and institutions are withdrawing investments, state governors are publishing harsh declarations and withdrawing their money.”