An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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It’s not often that one edition of a weekly newsletter provides a perspective on ice cream, nuclear weapons, and Arab-Israeli relations, but in this week’s Action Update, we plan on doing exactly that. So please, sit back, relax, crack open a pint of Haagen-Dazs or Blue Bell, and read all about these items below.

Ben & Jerry’s Rocky Road

No doubt by now you’ve seen the news that Ben & Jerry’s, the hippy ice cream company known for its oddly named overpriced pints, has capitulated to the BDS movement.

Well, the story won’t end there. Regular readers of the update know that the pro-Israel community has advanced anti-BDS legislation in 33 states across the country. And a number of these bills include a provision that does not allow the state to invest pension funds and the like in entities that boycott the Jewish state. These provisions are focused in states with the largest pension funds, like Texas, New York and Florida.

While Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t figure into the investment equation, their parent company, international conglomerate Unilever, does. Several states have already announced that they have begun the process to see if the laws compel them to divest funds from Unilever (spoiler alert: they do). This is bad news for the company’s shareholders, who’ve already seen shares of Unilever fall since Ben & Jerry’s half-baked saga began. And given that, for example, Texas – which heard from the CUFI Action Fund within twenty-four hours of the Ben & Jerry’s announcement and reacted to our outreach the next day - holds $100 million in Unilever stock, things aren’t going to get any better until the adults in the room overrule their subsidiary, an action which financial documents from the purchase of Ben & Jerry’s indicate Unilever is fully within its rights to do.

This is exactly why we’ve worked at the state level to advance these anti-BDS provisions. And we are assured that this ends in one of two ways: either Ben & Jerry’s will go the way of AirBNB and back away from their pro-BDS position, or Unilever will see hundreds of millions of dollars currently invested in their company, invested elsewhere. Either way, the American people won’t subsidize anti-Israel board room decisions, and we’re witnessing that unfolding at this very moment.

Pres. Biden’s Narrowing Corridor

Two opinion pieces on Iran’s nuclear program caught our eye recently, especially as they came on the heels of the King of Jordan visiting Washington to, among other things, discuss Iran’s nuclear program with leaders on the Hill.

The first was a Wall Street Journal editorial that notes that Iran continues to try to extract more concessions from the US via indirect negotiations between Washington, world powers, and Tehran. The second was an opinion column from perennial foreign policy fixture Amb. Dennis Ross who argued that the US should provide the Massive Ordinance Penetrator (a bomb meant to destroy WMD sites built deep inside mountains) to Israel for the purpose of increasing western leverage over the Islamic Republic.

Both pieces – especially when taken together – show that no one seems to be under the illusion that the Biden administration has displayed what it takes to show Iran that their choice is truly a “longer and stronger” agreement or a return to the maximum pressure track.

Now, we’re not talking about bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. Rather, with Iran continuously coming back and asking the US for more concessions without offering any of their own, what we are talking about is leaving Tehran no doubt that those who might act will have the capabilities to do so. As Amb. Ross wrote, “The Iranians may doubt whether the U.S. would follow through on its threats; they won’t have any trouble believing the Israelis will.”

We agree with Amb. Ross that providing the mountain-buster bombs to Israel is a good idea. We agree that the Administration’s speak softly and carry a small stick approach is not working out. And everyone agrees that the original agreement – whether they say it explicitly or not – was too short and too weak. It’s not too late to rebuild the perception of American power, because it can be backed up. But in order to achieve real success Pres. Biden should heed the warning put to paper by one of our colleagues before Pres. Biden took office, “Biden mustn’t want a deal more than he wants to see a specific, comprehensive outcome. And his team must be willing to walk away from the negotiating table.”

A Clear Path to Peace

Returning to our effort to try to end on a good note, Israeli airlines have begun flights to Morocco after that country followed several others in normalizing diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.  We checked around the office and none of us had been to Marakhesh. Some of us had recently traveled to Abu Dhabi to meet the UAE’s foreign Minister. We look forward to one day soon hopping on a flight in Tel Aviv and landing in Morocco to enjoy the hospitality and beauty that nation is known for.

The theme of this week’s Action Update could have been peace through strength. Strong state action is what will ultimately ensure US taxpayer dollars do not end up supporting the antisemitic BDS movement. Strong American leadership is what will deter Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And strong American support is what enabled what we hope and pray are just the first of many nations to normalize their relations with Israel.

Some like to accuse bold leaders of being saber rattlers. On the contrary, history has shown that peace is the end, strength is the means, and weakness begets conflict. Bold leaders are the ones who achieve peace. The rest just talk about it.


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