North Africa/Middle East
The chief executive of Unilever on Thursday said the global consumer goods giant remains “fully committed” to doing business in Israel, distancing himself from this week’s announcement by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand that it would stop serving Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem, the Associated Press reported. But CEO Alan Jope gave no indication that Unilever would force Ben & Jerry’s to roll back its controversial decision.
Israel’s aviation industry is in danger of collapse, airline company heads told the country’s coronavirus airport commissioner, the Jerusalem Post reported. A solution to allow air travel, despite fears of new coronavirus variants and rising case numbers, must be found quickly, the airline heads told Maj.-Gen. (res.) Roni Numa ahead of the coronavirus cabinet’s meeting. Numa met with the heads of El Al, Israir, and Arkia and international carriers in order to hear their feedback and ask for solutions ahead of the meeting.
After Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont-based ice-cream company and wholly owned subsidiary of global consumer-products giant Unilever that prides itself on its progressive politics, announced Monday that it is cancelling its license with its Israeli affiliate, a move that amounts to a boycott of Israel, a wave of legal and regulatory issues for its Dutch-American parent was triggered, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Israel’s prime minister vowed Tuesday to “act aggressively” against the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, as the country’s ambassador to the U.S. urged dozens of state governors to punish the company under anti-boycott laws, the Associated Press reported. The strong reaction reflected concerns in Israel that the ice cream maker’s decision could lead other companies to follow suit. It also appeared to set the stage for a protracted public relations and legal battle.
Ben & Jerry’s said Monday it was going to stop selling its ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem, saying the sales in the territories sought by the Palestinians are “inconsistent with our values,” The Washington Post reported. The announcement was one of the strongest and highest-profile rebukes by a well-known company of Israel’s policy of settling its citizens on war-won lands. The settlements are widely seen by the international community as illegal and obstacles to peace.
Global M&A activity broke records for a second consecutive quarter this year as companies continued to borrow cheaply and spend their cash reserves on transformative deals to reposition themselves for the post-COVID world, Reuters reported. Deals worth $1.5 trillion were announced in the three months to June 30, more than any second quarter on record and up 13% from the record first quarter of the year despite activity among blank-check firms slowed down.