On Tuesday, DeSantis added British brand conglomerate Unilever to the state’s list of “scrutinized companies” because one of its divisions, Ben & Jerry’s, announced last month that it would stop ice cream sales in Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem. The move could ultimately prohibit Florida from having investments in Unilever or any contracts with the company and its subsidiaries if it doesn’t reverse course in 90 days.
In a news release, DeSantis said he wanted to deter “woke corporations” and send a message “that we will defend our strong relationship with the Jewish State.”
On Tuesday, Florida reported 11,515 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, a pandemic record, including some 2,400 in ICUs, per the Orlando Sentinel. And experts do not see any relief in the immediate future.
“Short term and long term, the cases are going to explode,” Edwin Michael, a professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, told The New York Times. “We are predicting that the cases will be peaking the first week of September.”
Michael said that without a slowdown in cases, the state might exceed hospital bed capacity by early next month.
But as cases continue to climb, DeSantis has prioritized his culture war with Ben & Jerry’s.
“I will not stand idly by as woke corporate ideologues seek to boycott and divest from our ally, Israel,” DeSantis stated.
DeSantis has been far more passive when it comes to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, he signed an executive order to cut funding to school districts that require face coverings. As classes prepare to resume in the midst of the latest wave of the pandemic, both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended universal masks indoors and in schools.
DeSantis is also fighting in court to prevent COVID-19 vaccine requirements on cruise ships.