Bennett called for an ‘anti-Israeli move’ to stop the company from selling its ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the head of Unilever on Tuesday that Israel would take “aggressive action” against Ben & Jerry’s over the subsidiary’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
British consumer goods conglomerate Unilever acquired the Vermont-based ice cream company in 2000. Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement Monday that it had informed its longtime licensee — which is responsible for manufacturing and distributing ice cream in Israel — that it would not renew it. The license agreement when it expires at the end of 2022.
Bennett’s office said in a statement that he spoke with Unilever CEO Alan Jopp about Ben & Jerry’s “clearly anti-Israel move”, adding that the move would have “serious consequences, legal and otherwise,”. And it will aggressively act on all boycott actions directed against its citizens”.
The Ben & Jerry’s Declaration was one of the highest-profile corporate rebukes of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. Most of the international community considers these settlements illegal under international law and hinders peace with the Palestinians.
I think there’s an important lesson in Israel’s Maximalist of the Rails response to the Ben & Jerry’s settlement boycott: Israeli officials and their supporters will call you anti-Semitic even for mild 2-states-based positions, so you can’t do that. You can also say if you believe.
– Abraham Gutman – Abraham Gutman (@abgutman) July 19, 2021
About 700,000 Israelis now live in settlements – about 500,000 in the occupied West Bank and 200,000 in East Jerusalem. Israel fully regards Jerusalem as its capital, while East Jerusalem is viewed as the capital of a future Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.
Ben & Jerry’s said in its declaration that the sale of its ice cream in the territories demanded by the Palestinians for an independent state was “inconsistent with our values”.
The Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement said on Monday it “warmly welcomes” Ben & Jerry’s decision, but called on the company to “end all operations in apartheid Israel.”
“We hope that Ben & Jerry’s has understood that in line with its social justice commitments, no business can run as usual in apartheid Israel,” BDS said in a statement.
— BDS Movement (@BDSmovement) July 19, 2021
Israel’s foreign ministry criticized the decision on Monday, calling it “surrender to ongoing and aggressive pressure from anti-Israel extremist groups” and saying the company was cooperating with “economic terrorism”.
Ben & Jerry’s Israel CEO and licensee Avi Zinger told public broadcaster Kan on Tuesday that the parent company had long pressured them to stop distribution in Israeli-occupied territories, but they refused because it was Israel. would violate the law.
He called Ben & Jerry’s decision not to extend its license the “greatest achievement” of the BDS movement, which advocates the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israeli institutions and businesses, in response to Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. A non-violent campaign against