A Texas official warned companies in the state against boycotting Israel amid the ongoing fighting with Hamas militants.
“Over the weekend, Israel was hit with a cowardly attack by terrorists with seemingly no goal but senseless destruction and loss of life. Even as Israel now fights to defend itself, Hamas continues its violent threats by vowing to kill hostages in response to Israeli counterstrikes in Gaza,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement on Tuesday.
“As this conflict unfolds, I remind businesses that my office maintains a list of companies that boycott Israel. Texas Government Code Chapter 808 defines ‘boycott Israel’ as ‘refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory.'”
Over the weekend, fighting between Hamas and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began with the militant group launching attacks and the IDF striking the Gaza Strip.
“I have given an order. Gaza will be under complete siege,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week. “We are fighting barbarians and will respond accordingly.”
According to CNN, a spokesperson for the armed sect of Hamas Abu Obaida responded on Telegram, saying: “We declare that we will respond to any targeting of our people who are safe in their homes without warning, with the execution of our civilian hostages, and we will broadcast it with audio and video.”
The Texas Comptroller’s Office also published a list of companies that they believe have boycotted Israel, including the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s.
In 2021, Ben & Jerry’s issued a statement, saying: “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.
“We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”
The fighting between Israel and Hamas militants has caused more than 2,000 casualties, the Associated Press reported.
According to the Ben & Jerry’s website, co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield said in a op-ed in the New York Times that they are Jewish supporters of Israel but “fundamentally reject the notion that it is antisemitic to question the policies of the State of Israel.”
“The company’s stated decision to more fully align its operations with its values is not a rejection of Israel,” they wrote. “It is a rejection of Israeli policy, which perpetuates an illegal occupation that is a barrier to peace and violates the basic human rights of the Palestinian people who live under the occupation.”
Newsweek reached out to the Texas Comptroller’s Office via email for further comment.