Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the head of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, the latter’s decision to end sales in what it termed the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is an “anti-Israel” move that would be fought “vigorously.”
Bennett told Unilever CEO Alan Jope he takes a “very serious view of the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to boycott Israel,” a statement from the prime minister’s office outlined.
“There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state,” Bennett said.
British megacorp Unilever's ice cream brand goes even woker… https://t.co/JRP4KN37HM
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 19, 2021
“Ben & Jerry‘s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream. This decision is morally wrong and I believe that it will become clear that it is also commercially wrong. The boycott against Israel – a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism – reflects a total loss of way.
“The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force,” he added.
Bennett also told the ice cream giant the move would have “serious legal and other ramifications.”
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan sent letters Monday evening to the governors of 35 states that have laws against boycotting Israel, saying that Ben & Jerry’s boycott constituted “de facto adoption of antisemitic practices and advancement of the delegitimization of the Jewish state and dehumanization of the Jewish people.”
“We will make it clear to Ben and Jerry’s International that their despicable decision will have implications,” Erdan tweeted, alongside a copy of his letter.
פניתי הלילה במכתב ל-35 מושלים של מדינות בארה"ב בהן קיימת חקיקה נגד החרמת ישראל וקראתי להם להפעיל כנגד בן אנד ג׳ריס סנקציות בהתאם לחוק במדינותיהם.
אנחנו נבהיר לבן אנד ג׳ריס העולמית שלהחלטה הבזויה שלהם תהיינה השלכות. pic.twitter.com/r9OuONRaeS
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) July 20, 2021
Erdan also noted that as Arab countries were ending decades of boycotts against Israel and normalizing relations with it, America companies with “radical ideological agendas” were acting against peace.
Ben & Jerry’s decision marks a win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has targeted the Vermont-based American company for the last decade, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“The BDS movement is not interested in promoting peace or a better future for Palestinians, but rather in demonizing and discriminating against Israel, the one true democracy and America’s strongest ally in the Middle East,” Erdan told the governors.
He called on them to “speak out… and take any other relevant steps including in relation to your state laws and the commercial dealings between Ben and Jerry’s and your state.”
The Times of Israel cited Ben and Jerry’s Israel CEO Avi Zinger as telling the Kan public broadcaster: “That they [Ben and Jerry’s] gave in is a great achievement for the BDS.”
He said that in light of the “unbearable” atmosphere in the US, in particular following the recent 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, “they thought that if they sacrifice me, after 35 years of operation, they will have some quiet.”
Pure antisemitism. I won't buy their ice cream again. https://t.co/Ljs8wBO4jk
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKleinShow) July 19, 2021
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid denounced Ben & Jerry’s decision, calling it “a disgraceful capitulation to antisemitism, to BDS, to all that is evil in the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish discourse.”
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, also slammed the ice cream maker, saying, “Your ice cream brand doesn’t match our tastes. We’ll be fine without you.”
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu joined in the condemnation, tweeting: “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.”